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Paper oil, Minsky financial instability hypothesis and casino capitalism

 Why Peak Oil Threatens the Casino Capitalism

News Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Recommended Links The idea of Minsky moment Oil glut fallacy Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Great condensate con
Paper oil and record oil futures trading volumes Oil prices and debt bubble Slightly skeptical view of oil price forecasts        
Russia oil production Deflation of the USA shale oil bubble MSM propagated myth about Saudis defending this market share Iran return to western oil markets fearmongering

Slightly skeptical view of oil price forecasts

 

Oil consumption growth Secular Stagnation
 Energy returned on energy invested (ERoEI) Energy Geopolitics Energy Bookshelf Bakken Reality Check Junk bond bubble Energy disinformation agency and friends US military energy consumption
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Note: This article sounds pretty counterintuitive in view of current slump of oil prices with a barrel of oil prices below $30 (more then 4 times drop from the highest level achieved.), In other words, instead of peak oil temporary the world is living in the regime of "oil glut" (which is a misnomer, as in reality this is an overproduction of condensate not oil, but at least low prices are real). 

But the key reason for this was extremely rapid increase  of production in the US and Canada in 2012-2014 fueled by cheap credit. Essentially producing "subprime oil" and in parallel the stream of junk bonds that will never be repaid (aka subprime oil as a Ponzi scheme).

At the same time this was not a revolution but a retirement party as fundamental did not change -- abundance of credit for shale oil and tar sand project was just a side effect of QE.

Reprinted from: Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System By Erik Townsend

| January 6, 2013 (Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA. )

Introduction

Having spent the last several years of my life engineering investment strategies to profit from the inevitability of Peak Oil, I’ve become obsessed with understanding the ramifications of radically different energy supply dynamics on the global economy. There are many facets to this, some obvious and some not so obvious. So when ASPO-USA Executive Director Jan Mueller approached me at the end of this year’s conference in Austin and asked for an article discussing the less obvious economic impacts of Peak Oil, I knew instantly that the topic should be the threat Peak Oil poses to the International Monetary System (IMS). This connection is critically important, but far from obvious.

I assure you that this story is very much about Peak Oil, but please bear with me, as I’ll need to start by reviewing what the IMS is and how it came about in the first place. Then I’ll explain the role energy has already played in shaping the present-day IMS, and finally, I’ll tie this back to Peak Oil by explaining why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail.

What is the International Monetary System?

At the end of World War II, many countries were literally lying in ruin, and needed to be rebuilt. It was clear that international trade would be very important going forward, but how would it work? World leaders recognized the need to architect a new monetary system that would facilitate international trade and allow the world to rebuild itself following the most devastating war in world history.

A global currency was out of the question because the many countries of the world valued their sovereignty, and wanted to continue to issue their own domestic currencies. In order for international trade to flourish, a system was needed to allow trade between dozens of different nations, each with its own currency.

A convention was organized by the United Nations for the purpose of bringing world leaders together to architect this new International Monetary System. The meetings were held in July, 1944 at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and were attended by 730 delegates representing all 44 allied nations. The official name for the event was the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, but it would forever be remembered as The Bretton Woods Conference.

To this day, the system designed in those meetings remains the basis for all international trade, and is known as the Bretton Woods System. The system has evolved quite a bit since its inception, but its core principles remain the basis for all international trade. I’m going to focus this article on the parts of the system which I believe are now at risk of radical change, with Peak Oil the most likely catalyst to bring about that change. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the system itself should refer to the Further Reading section at the end of this article.

Why is an International Monetary System needed?

It simply wouldn’t be practical for all countries to sell their export products to other countries in their own currencies. If one had to pay for wine from France in French Francs (there was no Euro currency in 1944), and then pay to import a BMW automobile in German Marks, then pay for copper produced in Chile in Pesos, each country would face an overwhelming burden just maintaining reserve deposits of all the various world currencies. The system of trade would be very inefficient. For centuries, this problem has been solved by using a single standard currency for all international trade.

Because a standard-currency system dictates that each nation’s central bank will need to maintain a reserve supply of the standard currency in order to facilitate international trade, the standard currency is known as the reserve currency. At various times in history, the Greek Drachma, the Roman Denari, and the Islamic Dinar have served as de-facto reserve currencies. Prior to World War II, the English Pound Sterling was the international reserve currency.

Throughout history, reserve currencies came into and out of use through happenstance. The Bretton Woods conference marked the first time that a global reserve currency was established by formal treaty between cooperating nations. The currency chosen was, of course, the U.S. Dollar.

How does the IMS work?

The core of the system was the U.S. Dollar serving as the standard currency for international trade. To assure other nations of the dollar’s value, the U.S. Treasury would guarantee that other nations could convert their U.S. dollars into gold bullion at a fixed exchange rate of $35/oz. Other nations would then “peg” their currencies to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of exchange. Each nation’s central bank would be responsible for “defending” the official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by offering to buy or sell any amount of currency bid or offered at that price. This meant each nation would need to keep a healthy reserve of U.S. dollars on hand to service the needs of domestic businesses wishing to convert money between the local currency and the U.S. dollar.

By design, the effect of the system was that each national currency was indirectly redeemable for gold. This was true because each nation’s central bank guaranteed convertibility of its own currency to U.S. dollars at some fixed rate of exchange, and the U.S. Treasury guaranteed convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold at a fixed rate of $35/oz. So long as all of the governments involved kept their promises, each nation’s domestic currency would be as good as gold, because it was ultimately convertible to gold. United States President Richard Nixon would break the most central promise of the entire system (U.S. dollar convertibility for gold) on August 15, 1971. I’ll come back to that event later in this article.

Triffin’s Dilemma

In 1959, three years after M. King Hubbert’s now-famous Peak Oil predictions, economist Robert Triffin would make equally prescient predictions about the sustainability of the “new” IMS, which was then only 15 years old. Sadly, Triffin’s predictions, like Hubbert’s, would be ignored by the mainstream.

The whole reason for choosing the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency was that without a doubt, the U.S.was the world’s strongest credit in 1944. To assure confidence in the system, the strongest, most creditworthy currency on earth was chosen to serve as the standard unit of account for global trade. To eliminate any question about the value of the dollar, the system was designed so that any international holder of U.S. dollars could convert those dollars to gold bullion at a pre-determined fixed rate of exchange. Dollars were literally as good as gold.

Making the USD the world’s reserve currency created an enormous international demand for more dollars to meet each nation’s need to hold a reserve of dollars. The USA was happy to oblige by printing up more greenbacks. This provided sufficient dollars for other nations to hold as foreign exchange reserves, while at the same time allowing the U.S.to spend beyond its means without facing the same repercussions that would occur were it not the world’s reserve currency issuer.

Triffin observed that if you choose a currency because it’s a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won’t be the strongest credit any more! This paradox came to be known as Triffin’s Dilemma.

Specifically, Triffin predicted that as issuer of the international reserve currency, the USA would be prone to over consumption, over-indebtedness, and tend toward military adventurism. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government would prove Triffin right on all three counts.

Triffin correctly predicted that the USA would eventually be forced off the gold standard. The international demand for U.S. dollars would allow the USA to create more dollars than it otherwise could have without bringing on domestic inflation. When a country creates too much of its own currency and that money stays in the country, supply-demand dynamics kick in and too much money chasing too few goods and services results in higher prices. But when a country can export its currency to other nations who have an artificial need to hold large amounts of that currency in reserve, the issuing country can create far more money than it otherwise could have, without causing a tidal wave of domestic inflation.

Nixon proves Triffin right

By 1970, the U.S.had drastically over-spent on the Vietnam War, and the number of dollars in circulation far outnumbered the amount of gold actually backing them. Other nations recognized that there wasn’t enough gold in Fort Knox for the U.S.to back all the dollars in circulation, and wisely began to exchange their excess USDs for gold. Before long, something akin to a run on the bullion bank had begun, and it became clear that the USA could not honor the $35 conversion price indefinitely.

On August 15, 1971, President Nixon did exactly what Triffin predicted more than a decade earlier: he declared force majeure, and defaulted unilaterally on the USA’s promise to honor gold conversion at $35/oz, as prescribed by the Bretton Woods accord.

Of course Nixon was not about to admit that the reason this was happening was that the U.S. Government had abused its status as reserve currency issuer and recklessly spent beyond its means. Instead, he blamed “speculators”, and announced that the United States would suspend temporarily the convertibility of the Dollar into gold. Forty-two years later, the word temporarily has taken on new meaning.

Exorbitant Privilege

With the whole world conducting international trade in U.S. dollars, nations with large export markets wound up with a big pile of U.S. dollars (payments for the goods they exported). The most obvious course of action for the foreign companies who received all those dollars as payment for their exported products would be to exchange the dollars on the international market, converting them into their own domestic currencies. What may not be obvious at first glance is that there would be catastrophic unintended consequences if they actually did that.

If all the manufacturing companies in Japan or China converted their dollar revenues back into local currency, the act of selling dollars and buying their domestic currencies would cause their own currencies to appreciate markedly against the dollar. The same holds true for oil exporting countries. If they converted all their dollar revenues back into their own currencies, doing so would make their currencies more expensive against the dollar. That would make their exports less attractive because, being priced in dollars, they would fetch lower and lower prices after being converted back into the exporting nation’s domestic currency.

The solution for the exporting nations was for their central banks to allow commercial exporters to convert their dollars for newly issued domestic currency. The central banks of exporting nations would wind up with a huge surplus of U.S. dollars they needed to invest somewhere without converting them to another currency. The obvious place to invest them was into U.S. Government Bonds.

This is the mechanism through which the reserve currency status of the dollar creates artificial demand for U.S. dollar-denominated treasury debt. That artificial demand allows the United States government to borrow money from foreigners in its own currency, something most nations cannot do at all. What’s more, this artificial demand for U.S. Treasury debt allows the USA to borrow and spend far more borrowed foreign money than it would otherwise be able to, were it not the world’s reserve currency issuer. The reason is that, if not for the artificial need to hold dollar reserves, foreign lenders would be much less inclined to purchase U.S. debt, and would therefore demand much higher interest rates. Similarly, the more that international trade has grown as a result of globalization, the more the United States’ exorbitant privilege has grown.

Have you ever wondered why China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations have such enormous U.S. Treasury bond holdings, despite the fact that they hardly pay any interest these days? The reason is definitely not because those nations think 1.6% interest on a 10-year unsecured loan to a nation known to have a reckless spending habit is a good investment. It’s because they have little other choice. The more their own economies rely on exports priced in dollars, the more they need to keep their own currencies attractively priced relative to the U.S. dollar in order for their exports to remain competitive on the international market. To achieve that outcome, they must hold large reserves denominated in U.S. dollars. That’s why China and Japan – major export economies – are the biggest foreign holders of U.S. debt.

The net effect of this system is that the USA gets to borrow money from foreigners at artificially low interest rates. Moreover, the USA can become over-indebted without the usual consequences of increasing borrowing cost and declining creditworthiness. Other nations have little choice but to maintain a large reserve supply of dollars as the international trade currency. But the U.S. has no need to maintain large reserves of other nations’ currencies, because those currencies are not used in international trade.

By the mid-1960s, this phenomenon became known as exorbitant privilege: That phrase refers to the ability of the USA to go into debt virtually for free, denominated in its own currency, when no other nation enjoys such a privilege. The phrase exorbitant privilege is often attributed to French President Charles de Gaulle, although it was actually his finance minister, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who coined the phrase.

What’s important to understand here is that the whole reason the U.S. can get away with running trillion-dollar budget deficits without the bond market revolting (a la Greece) is because of exorbitant privilege. And that privilege is a direct consequence of the U.S. dollar serving as the world’s reserve currency. If international trade were not conducted in dollars, exporting nations (both manufacturers and oil exporters) would no longer need to hold large reserves of U.S. dollars.

Put another way, when the U.S. dollar loses its reserve currency status, the U.S. will lose its exorbitant privilege of spending beyond its means on easy credit. The U.S. Treasury bond market will most likely crash, and borrowing costs will skyrocket. Those increased borrowing costs will further exacerbate the fiscal deficit. Can you say self-reinforcing vicious cycle?

But wait… Wasn’t Gold convertibility the whole basis of the system?

If the whole point of the Bretton Woods system was to guarantee that all the currencies of the world were “as good as gold” because they were convertible to U.S. dollars, which in turn were promised to be convertible into gold… And then President Nixon broke that promise in 1971… Wouldn’t that suggest that the whole system should have blown up in reaction to Nixon slamming the gold window shut in August of ’71?

Actually, it almost did. But miraculously, the system has held together for the last 42 years, despite the fact that the most fundamental promise upon which the system was based no longer holds true. To be sure, the Arabs were not happy about Nixon’s action, and they complained loudly at the time, rhetorically asking why they should continue to accept dollars for their oil, if those dollars were not backed by anything, and might just become worthless paper. After all, if U.S. dollars were no longer convertible into gold, what value did they really have to foreigners? The slamming of the gold window by President Nixon in 1971 was not the only cause of the Arab oil embargo, but it was certainly a major influence.

What’s holding the IMS together?

Why didn’t the rest of the world abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency in reaction to the USA unilaterally reneging on gold convertibility in 1971? In my opinion, the best answer is simply “Because there was no clear alternative”. And to be sure, the unmatched power of the U.S.military had a lot to do with eliminating what might otherwise have been attractive alternatives for other nations.

U.S. diplomats made it clear to Arab leaders that they wanted the Arabs to continue pricing their oil in dollars. Not just for U.S.customers, but for the entire world. Indeed, U.S. leaders at the time understood all too well just how much benefit the USA derives from exorbitant privilege, and they weren’t about to give it up.

After a few years of tense negotiations including the infamous oil embargo, the so-called petro-dollar business cycle was born. The Arabs would only accept dollars for their oil, and they would re-invest most of their profits in U.S. Treasury debt. In exchange for this concession, they would come under the protectorate of the U.S. military. Some might even go so far as to say that the U.S. government used the infamous Mafia tactic of making the Arabs an “offer they couldn’t refuse” – forcing oil producing nations to make financial concessions in exchange for “protection”.

With the Arabs now strongly incented to continue pricing the world’s most important commodity in U.S. dollars, the Bretton Woods system lived on. No longer constrained by the threat of a run on its bullion reserves, the U.S. kicked its already-entrenched practice of borrowing and spending beyond its means into high gear. For the past 42 years, the entire world has continued to conduct virtually all international trade in Dollars. This has forced China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations to buy and hold an enormous amount of U.S. Treasury debt. Exorbitant privilege is the key economic factor that allows the U.S.to run trillion dollar fiscal deficits without crashing the Treasury bond market. So far.

There’s a limit to how long this can last

But how long can this continue? The U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S. has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone. It stands to reason that eventually, other nations will lose faith in the dollar and start conducting business in some other currency. In fact, that’s already started to happen, and it’s perhaps the most important, under-reported economic news story in all of history.

Some examples…China and Brazil are now conducting international trade in their own currencies, as are Russia and China. Turkey and Iran are trading oil for gold, bypassing the dollar as a reserve currency. In that case, US sanctions are a big part of the reason Iran can’t sell its oil in dollars. But I wonder if President Obama considered the undermining effect on exorbitant privilege when he imposed those sanctions. I fear that the present U.S. government doesn’t understand the importance of the dollar’s reserve currency role nearly as well as our leaders did in the 1970s.

The Biggest Risk We Face is a US Bond and Currency Crisis

To be sure, Peak Oil in general represents a monumental risk to humanity because it’s literally impossible to feed all 7+ billion people on the planet without abundant energy to run our farming equipment and distribution infrastructure. But the risks stemming directly from declining energy production are not the most imposing, in my view.

Decline rates will be gradual at first, and it will be possible, even if unpopular, to curtail unnecessary energy consumption and give priority to life-sustaining uses for the available supply of liquid fuels. In my opinion, the greatest risks posed by Peak Oil are the consequential risks. These include resource wars between nations, hoarding of scarce resources, and so forth. Chief among these consequential risks is the possibility that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown. In my opinion, the USA losing its reserve currency status is likely to be at the heart of such a meltdown.

A good rule of thumb is that if something is unsustainable and cannot continue forever, it will not continue forever. The present incarnation of the IMS, which affords the United States the exorbitant privilege of borrowing a seemingly limitless amount of its own currency from foreigners in order to finance its reckless habit of spending beyond its means with trillion-dollar fiscal deficits, is a perfect example of an unsustainable system that cannot continue forever.

But the bigger the ship, the longer it takes to change course. The IMS is the biggest financial ship in the sea, and miraculously, it has remained afloat for 42 years after the most fundamental justification for its existence (dollar-gold convertibility) was eliminated. How long do we have before the inevitable happens, and what will be the catalyst(s) to bring about fundamental change? Those are the key questions.

In my opinion, the greatest risk to global economic stability is a sovereign debt crisis destroying the value of the world’s reserve currency. In other words, a crash of the U.S. Treasury Bond market. I believe that the loss of reserve currency status is the most likely catalyst to bring about such a crisis.

The fact that the United States’ borrowing and spending habits are unsustainable has been a topic of public discussion for decades. Older readers will recall billionaire Ross Perot exclaiming in his deep Texas accent, “A national debt of five trillion dollars is simply not sustainable!” during his 1992 Presidential campaign. Mr. Perot was right when he said that 20 years ago, but the national debt has since more than tripled. The big crisis has yet to occur. How is this possible? I believe the answer is that because the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency and is perceived by institutional investors around the globe to be the world’s safest currency, it enjoys a certain degree of immunity derived from widespread complacency.

But that immunity cannot last forever. The loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. While many analysts have opined that the USA cannot go on borrowing and spending forever, relatively few have made the connection to loss of reserve currency status as the forcing function to bring about a crisis.

We’re already seeing small leaks in the ship’s hull. China openly promoting the idea that the yuan should be asserted as an alternative global reserve currency would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but is happening today. Major international trade deals (such as China and Brazil) not being denominated in US dollars would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but are happening today.

So we’re already seeing signs that the dollar’s exclusive claim on reserve currency status will be challenged. Remember, when the dollar loses reserve currency status, the U.S.loses exorbitant privilege. The deficit spending party will be over, and interest rates will explode to the upside. But to predict that this will happen right now simply because the system is unsustainable would be unwise. After all, by one important measure the system stopped making sense 42 years ago, but has somehow persisted nonetheless. The key question becomes, what will be the catalyst or proximal trigger that causes the USD to lose reserve currency status, igniting a U.S. Treasury Bond crisis?

Elevated Risk

It’s critical to understand that the USA is presently in a very precarious fiscal situation. The national debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years, but so far, there don’t seem to have been any horrific consequences. Could it be that all this talk about the national debt isn’t such a big deal after all?

The critical point to understand is that while the national debt has more than doubled, the U.S. Government’s cost of borrowing hasn’t increased at all. The reason is that interest rates are less than half what they were 10 years ago. Half the interest on twice as much principal equals the same monthly payment, so to speak. This is exactly the same trap that subprime mortgage borrowers fell into. First, money is borrowed at an artificially low interest rate. But eventually, the interest rate increases, and the cost of borrowing skyrockets. The USA is already running an unprecedented and unsustainable $1 trillion+ annual budget deficit. All it would take to double the already unsustainable deficit is for interest rates to rise to their historical norms.

This all comes back to exorbitant privilege. The only reason interest rates are so low is that the Federal Reserve is intentionally suppressing them to unprecedented low levels in an attempt to combat deflation and resuscitate the economy. The only reason the Fed has the ability to do this is that foreign lenders have an artificial need to hold dollar reserves because the USD is the global reserve currency. They would never accept such low interest rates otherwise. Loss of reserve currency status means loss of exorbitant privilege, and that in turn means the Fed would lose control of interest rates. The Fed might respond by printing even more dollars out of thin air to buy treasury bonds, but in absence of reserve currency status, doing that would cause a collapse of the dollar’s value against other currencies, making all the imported goods we now depend on unaffordable.

In summary, the U.S. Government has repeated the exact same mistake that got all those subprime mortgage borrowers into so much trouble. They are borrowing more money than they can afford to pay back, depending solely on “teaser rates” that won’t last. The U.S. Government’s average maturity of outstanding treasury debt is now barely more than 5 years. This is analogous to cash-out refinancing a 30-year fixed mortgage, replacing it with a much higher principal balance in a 3-year ARM that offers an initial teaser rate. At first, you get to borrow way more money for the same monthly payment. But eventually the rate is adjusted, and the borrower is unable to make the higher payments.

The Janszen Scenario

When it comes to evaluating the risk of a U.S. sovereign debt and currency crisis, most mainstream economists dismiss the possibility out of hand, citing the brilliant wisdom that “the authorities would never let such a thing happen”. These are the same people who were steadfastly convinced that housing prices would never crash in the United States because they never had before, and that Peak Oil is a myth because the shale gas boom solves everything (provided you don’t actually do the math).

At the opposite extreme are the bloggers on the Internet whom I refer to as the Hyperinflation Doom Squad. Their narrative generally goes something like this: Suddenly, when you least expect it, foreigners will wise up and realize that the U.S. national debt cannot be repaid in real terms, and then there will be a panic that results in a crash of the U.S. Treasury market, hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar, and declaration of martial law. This group almost always cites the hyperinflations of Zimbabwe and Argentina as “proof” of what’s going to happen in the USA any day now, but never so much as acknowledges the profound differences in circumstances between the USA and those countries. These folks deserve a little credit for having the right basic idea, but their analysis of what could actually happen simply isn’t credible when examined in detail.

Little-known economist Eric Janszen stands out as an exception. Janszen is the only credible macroeconomic analyst I’m aware of who realistically acknowledges just how real and serious the threat of a U.S. sovereign debt crisis truly is. But his analysis of that risk is based on credible, level-headed thinking complemented by solid references to legitimate economic theory such as Triffin’s Dilemma. Unlike the Doom Squad, Janszen does not rely on specious comparisons of the USA to small, systemically insignificant countries whose past financial crises have little in common with the situation the USA faces. Instead, Janszen offers refreshingly sound, well constructed arguments. Many of the concepts discussed in this article reflect Janszen’s work.

Janszen also happens to be the same guy who coined the phrase Peak Cheap Oil back in 2006, drawing an important distinction between the geological phenomenon of Hubbert’s Peak and the economic phenomenon which begins well before the actual peak, due to increasing marginal cost of production resulting from ever-increasing extraction technology complexity.

“But there’s no sign of inflation…” (Hint: It’s coming)

Janszen has put quite a bit of work into modeling what a U.S. bond and currency crisis would look like. He initially called this KaPoom Theory, because history shows that brief periods of marked deflation (the ‘Ka’) usually precede epic inflations (the ‘Poom’). He recently renamed this body of work The Janszen Scenario.

Briefly summarized, Janszen’s view is that the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that’s needed at this point is a proximal trigger, or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike.

How Peak Oil could cause a Bond and Currency Crisis

There are several ways that an oil price spike could trigger a U.S. bond and currency crisis. Energy is an input cost to almost everything else in the economy, so higher oil prices are very inflationary. The Fed would be hard pressed to continue denying the adverse consequences of quantitative easing in a high inflation environment, and that alone could be the spark that leads to higher treasury yields. The resulting higher cost of borrowing to finance the national debt and fiscal deficit would be devastating to the United States.

A self-reinforcing vicious cycle could easily begin in reaction to oil price-induced inflation alone. But we must also consider how an oil price shock could lead to loss of USD reserve currency status, and therefore, loss of U.S. exorbitant privilege. In the 1970s, the USA represented 80% of the global oil market. Today we represent 20%, and demand growth is projected to come primarily from emerging economies. In other words, the rationale for oil producers to keep pricing their product in dollars has seriously deteriorated since the ‘70s. The more the global price of oil goes up, the more the U.S. will source oil from Canadian tar sands and other non-OPEC sources. That means less and less incentive for the OPEC nations to continue pricing their oil in dollars for all their non-U.S. customers.

Iran and Turkey have already begun transacting oil sales in gold rather than dollars. What if the other oil exporting nations wake up one morning and conclude “Hey, why are we selling our oil for dollars that might some day not be worth anything more than the paper they’re printed on?” Oil represents a huge percentage of international trade, so if oil stopped trading in dollars, that alone would be reason for most nations to reduce the very large dollar reserves they now hold. They would start selling their U.S. treasury bonds, and that could start the vicious cycle of higher interest rates and exploding borrowing costs for the U.S. Government. The precise details are hard to predict. The point is, the system is already precarious and vulnerable, and an oil price shock could easily detonate the time bomb that’s already been ticking away for more than two decades.

What if U.S. Energy Independence claims were true?

There’s another angle here. Peak Oil just might be the catalyst to cause the loss of U.S. exorbitant privilege, even without an oil price shock.

Astute students of Peak Oil already know better than to believe the recently-popularized political rhetoric claiming that the USA will soon achieve energy independence, thanks to the shale oil and gas boom. To be sure, the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and various other U.S. oil and gas plays are a big deal. The most optimistic forecasts I’ve seen show these plays collectively ramping up to as much as 4.8 million barrels per day of production, which is equivalent to about ½ of Saudi Arabia’s current production.

But the infamous “wedge of hope” chart from the EIA projects production declines from existing global resources of 60 million barrels per day by 2030. By the most optimistic projections, all the exciting new plays in the U.S. will replace less than 5 million barrels per day. Where the other 55 million barrels per day will come from remains a mystery! And of course the politicians never bother to mention such minor details when they make predictions of energy independence.

But let’s just pretend for a moment that hyperbole is reality, and that the USA will achieve energy-independence in just a few years’ time. Now consider the consequences to the IMS. The oil-exporting nations would lose the USA as their primary export customer, and would no longer have an incentive to price their oil in dollars, or to maintain large dollar reserves. They would start selling off their U.S. treasury bonds, and pricing their oil in something other than dollars. Large oil importers like China and Japan would stop paying for oil in dollars, and would no longer need to maintain present levels of U.S. dollar reserves. So they too would start selling U.S. treasury bonds, pushing up U.S. interest rates in the process. Once again, we have the ingredients for a self-reinforcing vicious cycle of increasing U.S. interest rates causing U.S. Government borrowing costs to skyrocket.

Without the artificial demand for treasury debt created by exorbitant privilege, the U.S. would be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. The Federal Reserve might respond with even more money printing to monetize all the government’s borrowing needs, but without the international demand that results from the dollar’s reserve currency status, the dollar would crash in value relative to other currencies as a result of excessive monetization by the Fed. The resulting loss of principal value would cause even more international holders of U.S. Treasury debt to panic and sell their holdings. Once again, a self-reinforcing vicious cycle would develop, with consequences for the United States so catastrophic that the 2008 event would pale in contrast.

Rambo to the Rescue?

Let’s not forget that the USA enjoys virtually unchallenged global military hegemony. China is working hard to build out its “blue water navy”, including strategic ballistic missile nuclear submarine capability. But the USA is still top dog on the global power stage, and if the USA was willing to use its nuclear weapons, it could easily defeat any country on earth, except perhaps China and Russia.

While the use of nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity might seem unthinkable today, the USA has yet to endure significant economic hardship. $15/gallon gasoline from the next Peak Cheap Oil price shock coupled with 15% treasury yields and a government operating in crisis mode just to hold off systemic financial collapse in the face of rampant inflation would change the mood considerably.

All the USA has to do in order to secure an unlimited supply of $50/bbl imported oil is to threaten to nuke any country refusing to sell oil to the U.S. for that price. Unthinkable today, but in times of national crisis, morals are often the first thing to be forgotten. We like to tell ourselves that we would never allow economic hardship to cause us to lose our morals. But just look at the YouTube videos of riots at Wal-Mart over nothing more than contention over a limited supply of boxer shorts marked down 20% for Black Friday. What we’ll do in a true crisis that threatens our very way of life is anyone’s guess.

If faced with the choice between a Soviet-style economic collapse and abusing its military power, the USA just might resort to tactics previously thought unimaginable. Exactly what those tactics might be and how it would play out are unknowable. The point is, this is a very complex problem, and a wide array of factors including military capability will play a role in determining the ultimate outcome.

I certainly don’t mean to predict such an apocalyptic outcome. All I’m really trying to say is that the military hegemony of the USA will almost certainly play into the equation. Even if there is no actual military conflict, the ability of the U.S. to defeat almost any opponent will play into the negotiations, if nothing else.

Conclusions

The current incarnation of the International Monetary System, in which the USA enjoys the exorbitant privilege of borrowing practically for free, and is therefore able to pursue reckless fiscal policy with immunity from the adverse consequences that non-reserve currency issuing nations would experience by doing so, cannot continue indefinitely. Therefore, it will not continue indefinitely. How and when it will end is hard to say, especially considering the fact that it’s already persisted for 42 years after it stopped making sense. The system will continue to operate until some catalyst or trigger event brings about catastrophic change.

The next Peak Cheap Oil price spike is not the only possible catalyst to bring about a U.S. bond and currency crisis, but it’s the most likely candidate I’m aware of. I don’t believe that U.S. energy independence is possible, but if it were, the end of oil imports from the Middle East would also be the catalyst to end exorbitant privilege and bring about a U.S.bond and currency crisis. To summarize, the music hasn’t stopped quite yet, but when it does, this will end very, very badly. I’m pretty sure we’re on the last song, but I don’t know how long it has left to play.

Further Reading

Erik Townsend is a hedge fund manager based in Hong Kong.


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[Oct 21, 2018] The Khashoggi Murder -- Worse Than a Crime, a Mistake by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... it's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen ..."
"... So, it's quite unusual because the same political class remained muted about the Saudis involvement with ISIS, the bombing and starvation of civilians in Yemen and destruction of Syria, and of course the Saudis involvement in 9/11 terrorist attack in which 3000 American citizens have perished in New York, in the heart of America ..."
"... However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade. ..."
"... The seemingly well-connected news outlet Voltairenet claims that there has been a plot against MbS and that Khashoggi was involved in it. ..."
"... It fares a atrocial war on Yemen, shits on international laws and regulations, just like Israel, Why would they not murder a juorno entering their land? Now this juorno was a man revealing in practices done by head choppers, so I will not cry much. It just shows these people are savages, all of them. What should be done ? You judge. ..."
"... I've read on Zerohedge that Khashoggi was on the verge of publishing an article about the Saudi's and CIA's involvement in 9/11, specifically about his former boss Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi intelligence for 23 years then abruptly resigned 10 days before 9/11 without giving any reason. ..."
"... Kashiggi's not a reformer. He's hard core Muslim Brotherhood ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

Alistair , says: October 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT

The overplayed drama of Mr. Khashoggi assassination is going to be used by the American Oil Cartel to control the Saudis Oil output.

it's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen.

So, it's quite unusual because the same political class remained muted about the Saudis involvement with ISIS, the bombing and starvation of civilians in Yemen and destruction of Syria, and of course the Saudis involvement in 9/11 terrorist attack in which 3000 American citizens have perished in New York, in the heart of America.

So, we must be a bit skeptical about the motive of the American Political Class, as this again could be just about the OIL Business, but this time around the objective is to help the American Oil producers as opposed to Oil consumers – with 13.8% of the global daily Oil production, the US has lately become the world top producer of Crude Oil, albeit, an expensive Oil which is extracted by Fracking method that requires high Oil price above $70 to remain competitive in the global Oil market – by simultaneously sanctioning Iran, Venezuela, and the potential sanction of Saudi Arabia from exporting its Oil, the Trump Administration not only reduces the Global Oil supply which will certainly lead to the rise of Oil price, but also it lowers demand for the US Dollar-Greenback in the global oil market which could lead to subtle but steady devaluation of the US dollar.

And perhaps that's what Trump Administration was really aiming for all along; a significant decline of the US Dollar Index and the rise of price of Oil which certainly pleases the American Oil Cartel, though at the expense of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – all of which are under some form of US sanctions.

However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade.

MrTuvok , says: October 20, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
The seemingly well-connected news outlet Voltairenet claims that there has been a plot against MbS and that Khashoggi was involved in it.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article203497.html

This seems to explain the motive to kill him. A few mildly critical articles by Khashoggi's pen scarcely seem to be sufficient for such a high-profile murder, even if we take into account that MbS appears to be impulsive and little capable of thinking ahead.

byrresheim , says: October 21, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT
It was not Talleyrand who said "pire qu'une crime " but rather Boulay de la Meurthe. But then the Queen never said "Let them eat cake" either.

Pardon my hint at historical accuracy, please.

FKA Max , says: October 21, 2018 at 3:48 am GMT
Very insightful video:

Duplicitous Khashoggi Picked the Wrong Prince

http://www.unz.com/video/therealnews_duplicitous-khashoggi-picked-the-wrong-prince/

Funny

Cato , says: October 21, 2018 at 3:55 am GMT
First of all, when has the death of a journalist made any difference in the relations between countries? Why act like it should now?
Second, Khashoggi was not simply a journalist -- he was a member of the Saudi elite, an Intelligence officer, and an activist for the Muslim Brotherhood (the Die Welt article established that).

Third, the real question is how this story came out, and why it has come out as it has ("journalist murdered by police state agents"). Turkey pushed this story out into the open. Apparently a calculation that the crown prince is losing ground, and an effort (perhaps assisted by bribes) to align the AK party with the crown prince's enemies in Saudi.

Den Lille Abe , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:20 am GMT
It fares a atrocial war on Yemen, shits on international laws and regulations, just like Israel, Why would they not murder a juorno entering their land? Now this juorno was a man revealing in practices done by head choppers, so I will not cry much. It just shows these people are savages, all of them. What should be done ? You judge.
anon [321] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:35 am GMT
It seems quite curious why MBS would go through such trouble to waste a guy whose only crime was writing a few low key disparaging articles about him that nobody read. Maybe there's more to this story than meets the eye.

I've read on Zerohedge that Khashoggi was on the verge of publishing an article about the Saudi's and CIA's involvement in 9/11, specifically about his former boss Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi intelligence for 23 years then abruptly resigned 10 days before 9/11 without giving any reason. The rumor was he knew about the attack as did CIA, but Saudis and CIA decided not to do anything to use it as pretext to start the "war on terror" and bring down Saddam Hussein. Personally I find that a little far fetched but you never know when it comes to the CIA.

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT
The murder of d'Enghien had no effect on the French Revolution, other countries reactions to the revolution and the subsequent revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In fact, most of the liberal pro French Revolution historians consider the execution as necessary and moral as the execution of other anti revolutionaries

Koshoggi's murder won't make a bit of difference either once the blame Trump media blast blows over. The Turkish police appear to be doing a good job. They've arrested 18 people involved. At least the moralist pundits won't be punditing and pontificating about Kavanaugh for a few days. Kashiggi's not a reformer. He's hard core Muslim Brotherhood

johnson , says: October 21, 2018 at 6:04 am GMT

who likely cried, like England's King Henry II, 'will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'

Yawn. This author is tediously hackneyed. And, it was 'turbulent priest.'

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:18 am GMT
That the Saudi regime commits murders does not surprise me, but getting caught not just with murder, but also with torture, indeed an unbelievable stupidity. Why torture the man ? But what also baffles me is that the journalist wrote for Washpost, a friend of Israel.

That Netanyahu and the Saudi regime cooperate to attack Iran, it is asserted by many, and it sems quite probable to me. A technical question, can indeed a smartwatch do what it is supposed to have done ? If so, then the torturers and murderers are even more stupid, I let the moral issue undiscussed, than one can imagine. Then there is the assertion, in cases like this one never knows what the facts are, that the journalist's girl friend waited outside. Did he expect trouble ? Did he ask her to record the trouble ? Did not the consulate security see her ? A final remark, what now is the difference in cruelty between IS and the USA's ally ?

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
@Alistair History has its weird twists.

Early in WWII FDR was reported that USA oil would be depleted in thirty years time. So FDR sent Harold L Ickes to Saudi Arabia,where at the end of 1944 the country was made the USA's main oil supplier. FDR entertained the then Saud in early 1945 on the cruiser Quincy, laying in the Bitter Lakes near the Suez Canal. This Saud and his entourage had never seen a ship before, in any case had never been on board such a ship.

In his last speech to Congress, seated, FDR did not follow what had been written for him, but remarked 'that ten minutes with Saud taught him more about zionism than hundreds of letters of USA rabbi's. These words do not seem to be in the official record, but one of the speech writers, Sherwood, quotes them in his book. Robert E. Sherwood, 'Roosevelt und Hopkins', 1950, Hamburg (Roosevelt and Hopkins, New York, 1948) If FDR also said to Congress that he would limit jewish migration to Palestine, do not now remember, but the intention existed.

A few weeks later FDR died, Sherwood comments on on some curious aspects of FDR's death, such as that the body was cremated in or near Warm Springs, and that the USA people were never informed that the coffin going from Warm Springs to Washington just contained an urn with ashes. At present the USA does not seem to need Saudi oil. If this causes the asserted cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel ?

Proud_Srbin , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:45 am GMT
When was the last time evangelical party or any other "christian" spoke against apartheid of Israel in large and meaningful numbers?
Alfred , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:53 am GMT
@Harris Chandler Now it has made alliances with Israel and between them the tail wags the dog

The Saudi Royal family and the governments of Israel have always been in cahoots. They both despise and fear secular governments that are not under their own control in the Middle East. Witness the fear and dread of both of them of president Nasser in the 1960′s, for example.

Lin , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:15 am GMT
The US establishment, 'liberal' or not, just fake an outcry to soften the image of 100′s of 1000′s of yemenis, iraqis, libyan.. war casualties they are wholly or partly responsible for. Khashoggi's death is no more brutal than that of Gaddafi. What's the big deal ?

Whether Khashoggi is an islamist or not is very minor. (Sunni) Islam is basically a caravan of arab tribal or civilizational power and the house of Saud just rides this vehicle or caravan to siphon off the oil wealth. The house of Saud, said to be Jewish in origin, have the option to migrate en mass to Israel or French Riviera, with their swiss/US/caribbean offshore accounts during time of crisis or after new forms of energy resource displace oil

Art , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:30 am GMT

Equally important, the Saudis and Emiratis are now closely allied to Israel's far right government. Israel has been a door-opener for the Saudis and Gulf Emirates in Washington's political circles. The Israel lobby is riding to the Saudi's defense .

The Israelis are defending Old Saudi (pre MBS) -- not the New MBS/Kushner fix Palestine cabal. The last thing Israel wants is a defined Israeli border recognized by the world. The sycophant Israeli backing Senators in congress (Graham et al) are all backing Israel by condemning MBS and calling for his head.

Think Peace -- Art

Miro23 , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
@FKA Max Thanks for the excellent Real News Network interview with someone I hadn't heard about (As'ad AbuKhalil) who has followed the career of Khashoggi for years.

http://www.unz.com/video/therealnews_duplicitous-khashoggi-picked-the-wrong-prince/

It seems that Khashoggi was lately different things to different people – one voice in English at the Washington Post following the Israeli line, and another in Arabic and the Arab media supporting the Palestinians and the Moslem Brotherhood.

Over the long term he was a propagandist for the rule of the Saudi princes, and his problem seemed to be his too close connection to the wrong ones, while they were overthrown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). There's the suggestion of a plot against MbS where he may have been involved.

So why are the Israelis, their MSM and their AIPAC congressmen making such a big thing out of it? Isn't MbS their friend? And why should they care about the assassination of a pro-Palestinian journalist?

Maybe they've a better knowledge of the forces at play in Saudi Arabia, and concluded that MbS was too much of a risk (too isolated and independent – e.g. talking with the Chinese about a Petro/Yuan). Maybe they decided to Regime Change MbS in a usual Israeli/US Deep State operation with Khashoggi at the centre (the duplicitous sort of character that they favor) – with the outrage at MbS unexpectedly striking back. It was in fact MbS' team of bodyguards who arrived in Istanbul. And it would account for the Deep State anger at having one of its chief conspirators murdered.

The back story has to be that the US/Israel want control of both Saudi and Iranian oil priced in US Dollars and they'll go with anyone who can give that outcome (currently not MbS). Or they invade Saudi Arabia Eastern Province on some pretext or other and just take the oil directly.

Greg Bacon , says: Website October 21, 2018 at 8:54 am GMT

I'm surprised that the Saudis didn't ask the Israelis, who are very good at assassination and kidnapping, to go after Khashoggi.

They probably did, but Israel is gearing up to invade Gaza AGAIN, and that takes time and resources that they couldn't afford to let go and do some free-lancing in the Murder Inc Department.

But Blessed are the War Mongers or something, as that oh-so devout Christian, Pat Robertson, is against holding KSA accountable:

Prominent evangelical leader on Khashoggi crisis: let's not risk "$100 billion worth of arms sales"

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia to deteriorate over Khashoggi's death.

"For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis -- look, these people are key allies," Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists -- the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs -- "obnoxious," he urged viewers to remember that "we've got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of it'll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It's not something you want to blow up willy-nilly."

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/17/17990268/pat-robertson-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-trump-crisis

Did Robertson take all of that loot he made from smuggling blood diamonds out of Africa–using his charity as a front–and invest in the defense industry?

If Pat is headed to Heaven after he expires, then send me to the other place, as I have no desire to be stuck with hypocrites for all eternity.

Tyrion 2 , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT
@Harris Chandler Why would it be Trump's to avenge that man?
animalogic , says: October 21, 2018 at 9:44 am GMT
"Error" ? "Mistake" ? These people (the KSA) are fucking "stupid" . Now they're saying he died in a "fist fight" in the consulate ! A 13 year old street criminal would know that that excuse is an admission of guilt. These guys shouldn't be allowed to run a model railroad.
Brabantian , says: October 21, 2018 at 9:59 am GMT
On television in 1988, Donald Trump said he had bought a US $200 million 85-metre-long yacht ,'The Nabila', from billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, uncle of just-murdered-in-Istanbul journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The yacht was named after Adnan Khashoggi's daughter. Trump later sold the yacht to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Donald Trump talking about the boat and arms dealers like Khashoggi – "not the nicest guys in the world"

... ... ...

[Oct 21, 2018] Pepe Escobar The Jared of Arabia-Bonesaw connection by Pepe Escobar

Oct 20, 2018 | www.sott.net
Once again my best House of Saud-connected source RE-CONFIRMED Mohammed Bone Saw (MBS) received direct info on CIA assets in Saudi Arabia from his close whatsapp pal Jared of Arabia.

Jared could only have access to this top secret info because of his high clearance. That led to the Ritz-Carlton jail saga - and other arrests.

The CIA protégé Mohammed bin Nayef - who was previously made Crown Prince by the CIA itself - was also arrested and is still under house arrest. The CIA was grooming Nayef be King.

The CIA managed to elevate Nayef by plotting to get rid of Bandar Bush - who was fired by then King Abdullah. When King Abdullah died, Nayef continued to be Crown Prince until ousted by the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the benefit of his son.

Big mistake.

MBS moved against the clergy - who had been neutralized by Nayef. He moved against CIA friends, ousting former King Abdullah's son Prince Miteb as head of the powerful National Guard - who's after his blood ever since.

Crucially, Khashoggi was also CIA.

MBS ordered the invasion of Yemen - and turned large sectors of the army against him. He met with AIPAC in New York, befriended Israel and turned the bulk of the Saudi population against him.

Only misinformed simpletons believe that the Pulp Fiction in Istanbul op could have proceeded without his green light. Hubris, arrogance and inter-galactic ignorance are MBS's trademarks.

What kind of intel op does not know that Turkish secret police would be monitoring the Saudi embassy 24/7?

The Coward Prince, meanwhile, has had ample time to find not one but TWO fall guys.

Fall Guy Number One is Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, deputy head of Saudi intel (yes, that's an oxymoron), a senior air force officer with NO (very important) family connections to the Saudi two-bit royals.

Fall Guy Number Two is Saud al-Qahtani, who was a sort of Desert Grand Inquisitor - totally controlling the media and supervising the non-stop purge of any critics. Call him the Saudi Steve Bannon - as he was known in Qatar. He led a mighty troll army spreading fake news on the murderous war on Yemen, the pathetic blockade of Qatar and non-stop demonization of Iran.

Turkey for its part has masterfully deployed Death by a Thousand Leaks on MBS.

Now the whole planet knows the detailed description of the 15-men hit squad; pics of all of them; their role in the "mission"; arrival and departure flights; which hotels they stayed for a few hours.

The hit squad includes the Bone Saw Master; four intel ops; 6 Royal Guard members; a member of MBS's personal guard; and a free agent.

Compared to all this evidence, the official "fist fight" Saudi explanation as well as the Jared of Arabia-spun "rogue killer" spin are inter-galactic jokes designed for suckers.

What remains unexplained is whether MBS was striking some sort of dodgy deal with the Trump administration, via his best pal Jared, behind the back of his House of Saud many rivals. Consul Pompeus Minimus was on the phone to MBS immediately after the Pulp Fiction news broke out. This could well turn out to have been a double-double cross.
Comment: Pepe is probably a little too sure it couldn't have happened without MbS's approval. He may have been involved and it escalated further than he approved, (as Scott Adams theorizes ), or it could've been a rogue operation. Mohammed bin Salman has made enough enemies within the sprawling Saudi royal family with last year's "anti-corruption purge", that more than one faction would be happy to pin the assassination on him

[Oct 19, 2018] What happened here that all the neocons like Fred Hiatt and Sen. Lindsey Graham now want the blood of MBS?

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with Jack that when Brennan is writing an op-ed calling for the head of MbS something fishy is up. Kashoggi has had a long career at the heart of Saudi national security power structures. He's no angel. Clearly he touched a nerve to be murdered so openly with no plausible deniability. Or maybe that was intentional. Then....the reaction of the Deep State. Hmm? ..."
"... Please don't get me wrong. Saudi Barbaria has been a corrupting influence for decades and the role they have played in Syria, Libya is not to be condoned. I fully support walking away from our interventionist position in the Middle East and letting the chips fall there. However, I have a deep distrust of Brennan and his motives. I can't put my finger on why the neocons are reacting in this way in light of their previous attitude of ignoring such atrocities or even abetting them. This is raising suspicions. ..."
"... if that is such a common knowledge that host states always bug the guest embassies and consulates, that would mean that Saudis would have to assume that as well, so that they would make sure that these devices were ´blinded´, ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"As for arms sales, someone needs to brief Mr. Trump on the actual results of the promises made to him when he visited Riyadh last year. As Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution sums it up , "The Saudis have not concluded a single major arms deal with Washington on Trump's watch ." Moreover, an end to supplies of U.S. spare parts and technical support, something Russia cannot provide, would quickly ground the Saudi air force . That would have the welcome effect of ending a bloody bombing campaign in Yemen that a U.N. investigation concluded was probably responsible for war crimes." Washpost

-----------

Once again, I am not a great fan of Bezos or his blog, but two days in a row they have printed something I can agree with. Something has changed for him.

It has become a meme in the blather that runs shrill and shallow in the US media, that Saudi Arabia is a faithful, and indispensable ally of the US in the ME. Bezos disputes this and so do I.

A few points:

Yes, they chop heads off after Friday prayers outside the local mosque. They also do hands and feet. They stone to death women found guilty of adultery. They sew them in bags before the men present throw handy five pound rocks at them. The government is deeply approving of this. Sound familiar? Yes, it should. The jihadis whom the Saudis sponsor in Syria do the same things. The Sunni jihadis are nearly defeated in Syria and it has become clear that the Saudi government has been evacuating their leaders, probably with US connivance, so that they can pursue greater visions of jihad elsewhere.

The importance of Saudi Arabia in the world oil market is IMO now much exaggerated. They can undoubtedly do some damage by manipulating the short term contract (spot) market but this is something they would pay for heavily. The Kingdom is cash strapped. It was not for nothing that MBS turned the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh into a prison for the wealthy including many of his own kin in order to squeeze and in some cases torture them into handing over a lot of their cash to the government. Depressed petro sales at artificial prices will only further reduce revenue to the government.

The notion that Saudi intelligence contributes much to the GWOT is a joke. Saudi intelligence competence is something that exists only in pitchmen's claims voiced by TV touts. In fact, they get almost everything they have from the US and are like greedy baby birds always looking to be fed. They cannot organize a trip to the gold plated toilet. It took 15 of them to ambush Khashoggi, well, OK, 14 of them and a doctor to carry the electric bone-saw.

We need to sell them more equipment that they cannot use? It does not appear to me that any of the contracts that they promised to DJT has been signed. Their technique is simple. Keep the hope of profit for the US alive as leverage.

Lastly, the chimera of a great Arab alliance (a la NATO) is delusory. The Saudis lack both the organizational ability for such a thing and significant military power. They possess one of the world's largest static displays of military equipment. They have neither the manpower nor the aptitude to use such equipment effectively. As I have written previously, the Gulf Arabs have long had such an alliance. It is the GCC and it has never amounted to anything except a venue for the Arab delight in meetings and blather.

The basis for the desire for such an alliance is the Israeli strategic objective of isolating Iran and its allies; Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas with an eventual hope of destroying the Iranian theocracy. Israel is frightened of a possible salvo of many thousands of missiles and rockets into Israel from Lebanon as well as an eventual successful creation of a missile deliverable nuclear weapon by the Iranians. These are real and credible threats for Israel, but not for FUKUS . Israel has only two really valuable counter-value targets; Haifa and Tel Aviv. A hit on one or both with a nuclear weapon would be the end of Israel. The Israelis know that.

Adroit information operations carried out over generations by the Israeli government and its supporters have created in the collective US mind an image of Iran as a disguised 3rd Reich. This was well done. The same operation was run against Iraq with magnificent results from the POV of Israel

Saudi Arabia is a worthless ally. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/who-needs-saudi-arabia/2018/10/15/3ebe473c-d0a1-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a339b03b5abf


Jack , 2 days ago

Sir

What happened here that all the neocons like Fred Hiatt and Sen. Lindsey Graham now want the blood of MBS? Jamal Kashoggi was apparently a good pal of Osama and an insider who worked for Prince Turki al-Faisal both when he ran Saudi intelligence and when he was in DC. My antenna is up when John Brennan starts writing op-eds. After all he was in Riyadh when Turki was the internal security chief.

Does this have to do with our Deep State? Who may not be happy that MBS has by-passed them with a direct connection through Jared?

We didn't do anything or demand anything when the Saudis sent terrorists to attack us on 9/11. What's changed now with the murder of Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul?

RaisingMac -> Jack , 2 days ago
I'm with Jack. Don't get me wrong: I hate MBS as much as the next man, but I can't say I trust Erdogan or Bezos either. And these days, whenever the WaPo tells me to zig, my instinct tells me to zag. At the very least, I would like to know more about what's really going here before committing myself to one side or the other. Kashoggi, after all, was not just some random 'journalist'. He had intimate contact with, and knowledge of, high-ranking personages in the KSA and beyond. He even knew Osama bin Laden! There could be any number of parties out there in this world who have felt that he knew too much. It's just too early to jump to conclusions.
RaisingMac -> RaisingMac , 2 days ago
Over at Consortium News, Asad Abu Khalil, the 'Angry Arab', has up a good piece arguing that Kashoggi was no reformer. In fact, up until extremely recently, he was doggedly loyal to the régime. As he puts it:

"Western media coverage of Khashoggi's career (by people who don't know Arabic) presents a picture far from reality. They portray a courageous investigative journalist upsetting the Saudi regime. Nothing is further from the truth: there is no journalism in Saudi Arabia; there is only crude and naked propaganda."

https://consortiumnews.com/...

For now, I'm speculating that he simply ended up on the wrong side of MbS' intra-family feud, but I'm open to other theories.

ancient archer -> Jack , 2 days ago
It is very unlikely that the people, who time and time again have been found to lack even a shred of human decency, compassion and fairness, Brennan et al and I include WaPo in that, are now going gaga over the murder of a journo, who had strong links with the power players in the region.

The way that these things have worked out in the media earlier, I think the order has come from higher up to push this incident to damage either the relationship with SA or mbs. I think that keeping this incident hot has also kept the oil price high just before the mid-term elections. surely, a higher oil price hurts trump. that might be a reason for the trump-hating crowd including wapo to discover decency and fairness and other human virtues just right now. very intriguing, this reaction from the MSM.

I note that the British press is not pressing this issue as much, nor is Haaretz. Only the US MSM is pressing this very hard.

TTG -> Jack , 2 days ago
The US and the Brits before us have slavishly courted the Saudi Royals since before WWII. This is a constant through Republican and Democratic administrations. The Trump administration is no exception. Why the murder of one journalist would challenge a half century of established US policy at this time is beyond my understanding. Perhaps it's the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
David Habakkuk -> TTG , 2 days ago
TTG,

Someone from whose writings I have derived a great deal of instruction, as well as amusement, is Vladimir Golstein, a Russian Jewish émigré now in charge of 'Slavic Studies' at Brown University.

I introduce his explanation of the response to the Khashoggi killing, in a 'Facebook' post, not because I think it should be taken as some kind of authoritative truth, but because, as often, Golstein's irreverence is thought-provoking.

The post begins:

'Thank you, Saudi Arabia for exposing the utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of British and American gangsta press and equally gangsta establishment.

'You've been at it for a very long time. And it seems that finally you've got it right.'

After providing a long list of Saudi delinquencies, Golstein continues:

'I understand that you began to feel more and more desperate. You sided with Israel against Iran and Syria, and the rest of the world said that it is a moral thing to do and put you on the UN human rights board.

'Well, finally, you hit the right cord. Killing innocent people and abusing your moneyed power by buying newspapers, hotels, city districts or think tanks, was not enough to produce an outrage in the west, but when you whacked another cynical morally corrupt journalist that proved too much for the cynical and morally corrupt western press. They decided to stand up for one of their own.'

This does, I think, point to something rather important. And it leads to the thought that MBS and others may have miscalculated, as a result of an 'hubris' which many in the West have actually encouraged – just as they have a parallel 'hubris' in Israel.

As Golstein, who has a great deal of complex history behind him, can see very clearly, it is an interesting question when the 'sympathy' of Western 'liberals' is and is not actually felt.

What I think MBS may have missed is, quite precisely, the realisation that for people like Tom Friedman the fact that – as Golstein is pointing out – Khashoggi is the same kind of animal as they are means that killing him touches them personally.

Second, he is the kind of figure whom they have, as it were, 'cast' in a 'starring role', in their 'narrative' as to how somehow 'Saudi Barbaria' is going to 'modernise', and in so doing create a Middle East hospitable to a Jewish settler state.

So, in assassinating him, MBS may have unleashed a curious kind of psychological 'maelstrom.'

Barbara Ann -> David Habakkuk , 2 days ago
Jon Schwarz of The Intercept summed up the hypocrisy of the outrage rather well in a humorous tweet:

"I am withdrawing from all ventures with the Saudi government until they go back to killing people I'll never meet at a party"

David Habakkuk -> Barbara Ann , a day ago
Barbara Ann,

I think that is absolutely brilliant.

But, as well as hypocrisy, there is also a basic stupidity.

In fact, if one is reasonably 'worldlywise', one knows that people's sympathies, including one's own, are very often much more limited than they profess to be. We commonly find it much easier to feel the griefs and pain of people whom we see as like ourselves, than we do with those of others.

My own history, ironically, has been a move from finding it relatively easy to sympathise with people who write for the 'New York Times', or the 'Guardian', or the 'New York Review of Books', to finding it really rather difficult.

There is also, however, about so many of these people, an element of sheer stupidity.

Whether one agrees, or disagrees, with 'deplorables' is relevant, but only partly so. Actually, people who would not appear at the kind of 'party' which Jon Schwarz so aptly characterises have a very wide range of views, and I often agree in whole or in part with such people, and also often disagree in whole or in part. It is not a simple matter.

A related but distinct question has to do with common prudence.

People who lock themselves in a kind of bubble of the supposedly 'enlightened' are not only doing the rest of us no favours, but are inherently bound to head off in directions which are liable to be suicidal for themselves.

Prudent élites take the trouble at least to be aware that the world is not controllable by the comfortable people who appear at their dinner parties, and realise that if they persist in trying to persuade themselves that it is, sooner or later their self-delusion will blow up in their faces.

In relation to people like MBS, there is a double stupidity. The problem is not simply that he has been playing to their need to believe that he wants to 'modernise' Saudi Arabia. It is also that they have wanted to believe that such a venture is possible, which it almost certainly is not.

Pat Lang Mod -> Barbara Ann , 2 days ago
I have always been their opponent.
Jack -> David Habakkuk , 2 days ago
David

Yes, Vladimir Golstein has a point. The DC cocktail circuit have been offended as one of their fellow travelers has been offed. If this will lead to a break with Saudi Barbaria that will be good. I'm cynical however. Brennan, et al just want their boy in Riyadh not Jared's buddy.

smoothieX12 . -> Jack , a day ago
Wait until it becomes clear that Israel in actuality negotiates her safety with Russia (it is ongoing as I type this)--that's when the party will start in earnest.
Strawman -> TTG , 2 days ago
"The US and the Brits before us have slavishly courted the Saudi Royals since before WWII."

TTG, as you are doubtless aware, it goes back even further, to early World War I. David Fromkin's seminal 1989 history, "A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (also subtitled Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914–1922)": https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... describes the machinations by British, French, and (later) Americans to play the competing desert chieftains against each other, alternately catering to and dumping unceremoniously each one as political necessity dictated.

Recommended to readers wishing to further appreciate the roots of the irresolvable turmoil that is the modern Middle East.

Pat Lang Mod -> Strawman , 2 days ago
The American oil companies were mere commercial players.
blue peacock -> TTG , 2 days ago
TTG

Yes, there's clearly more than meets the eye. I agree with Jack that when Brennan is writing an op-ed calling for the head of MbS something fishy is up. Kashoggi has had a long career at the heart of Saudi national security power structures. He's no angel. Clearly he touched a nerve to be murdered so openly with no plausible deniability. Or maybe that was intentional. Then....the reaction of the Deep State. Hmm?

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Boringly conspiratorial minded. You people are buying into pro House of Saud propaganda.
blue peacock -> Pat Lang , 2 days ago
Col. Lang

Please don't get me wrong. Saudi Barbaria has been a corrupting influence for decades and the role they have played in Syria, Libya is not to be condoned. I fully support walking away from our interventionist position in the Middle East and letting the chips fall there. However, I have a deep distrust of Brennan and his motives. I can't put my finger on why the neocons are reacting in this way in light of their previous attitude of ignoring such atrocities or even abetting them. This is raising suspicions.

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Suspicion is good. Unwillingness to look at the evidence is not good.
blue peacock -> Pat Lang , 2 days ago
Col. Lang

The evidence I see is that a Saudi citizen who used to be a "regime insider" with high level connections and aligned with the previous head of Saudi intelligence was brutally murdered by Saudi government officials. Turkey leaked this information and in the leaks claim they have audio and video evidence of the murder. John Brennan and other neocons who previously have not only supported but also connived in some of the atrocities committed by the Saudi government are demanding that MbS be held to account.

The question that is nagging me is why are the neocons reacting this way now, considering they have always carried water for the Saudi royals when real dissidents have been routinely executed after show trials?

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Trump has asked the Turks for the surveillance data We will see.
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
USA just wants to get their well guarded ´sources and methods´, and to gain time. Zeit gewonnen ist viel gewonnen say Germans..
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , a day ago
"USA just wants to get their well guarded ´sources and methods´" What does that mean?
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
for example, how did Turks get the audio and possibly video of the deed, the transmission by Apple watch story may be just a red herring, they may have independent sources and methods which the US is not privy to the word ´their´ in my remark intended to say ´Turks´. Sorry about the unclear sentence.
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , a day ago
I thought you Germans were supposed to be smart. You don't understand that MIT, the Turkish intelligence service had bugged the consulate? What part of that do you not understand? Go get some strudel and think about it!
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
hahaha, I will eat it, BUT - if that is such a common knowledge that host states always bug the guest embassies and consulates, that would mean that Saudis would have to assume that as well, so that they would make sure that these devices were ´blinded´, and that would mean that there were other devices which they were not able to ´blind´. Just deep thinking, is that also German trait?
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , 18 hours ago
Sounds like Klarity, a German trait. The Saudis probably lacked the skill to find the Turkish bugs. MIT, the Turkish service are very skilled at installation.
Michael -> TTG , 2 days ago
Maybe this new surprising "moral" attitude has something to do with the mid-terms elections. Yes Saudi Arabia is a kind of traditional commodity platform and surely not an Ally, but DJT did enhance the Saudis status as Partners in his projected Deal of the Century (still not published).

The Khasoghi murder has become the DJT problem and while raising his expression for the outrage has also opened the exit door, and provided a possibility to dilute MBS direct responsibility. Of interest is the Erdogan careful but repeated supply of details.

FB -> Jack , 2 days ago
What 'terrorists' attacked on 911...?...nobody knows what exactly happened on that day, and who was involved...except that the official narrative is total BS...
Pat Lang Mod -> FB , 2 days ago
Rubbish! You are a truther?
FB -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Yes, one could lump me under the dismissive and unflattering epithet of 'truther'...after looking into some of the physical aspects of the matter, the narrative is impossible on grounds of physics...that is not to say I am speculating on who or even the how...which is where we see a lot of tinfoil hat stuff...but I have a solid engineering and aviation background...it could not have happened the way we are told...

[Oct 19, 2018] It appears that somebody tired to create Saudigate out of this insident. This potentially is good news for Iran and Russia. Perhaps not so good for Trump and Saidis. Israel may not be happy

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Oct 18, 2018 12:29:54 AM | link

TheBag @72

The President has authority under the Global Magnitsky Act to impose sanctions against anyone who has committed a human rights violation. Congress has already requested a HR investigation which Trump must act on and report to them within 4 months

It appears my prediction of Saudi gate may be right. This potentially is good news for Iran and Russia. Perhaps not so good for Trump and Saidis. Israel may not be happy. Perhaps his wife's plane troubles were a warning shot to remind him who is boss. Who knows ?

Haleys resignation beginning to make sense now. The House of Trump and House of Saud may soon fall, and Bibi wont be happy losing Trump and MBS. We all know what they are capable of to get things back on track

Why did the media held back on this so for so long?

Yemen (and Gaza).

CGTN & Al-Jazeera are the only global news outlets consistently and regularly reporting on the US facilitated genocides in Yemen and Jewish-occupied Palestine/Gaza.

The never-ending Khashoggi non-mystery mystery keeps Yemen & Gaza out of the Jew-controlled Western Media headlines. Saudi Barbaria and "Israel" are natural allies because each of them is an artificial Western political construct with a cowardly and incompetent military apparatus and an anti-heroic penchant for slaughtering undefended civilians - for psychopathic reasons.
--------
Talking about psychopathy...
Oz's Christian Zionist PM, Sco Mo, is blathering about following Trump's lead and moving Oz's Embassy in "Israel" to Jerusalem. Sc Mo, who has never had an original idea in his life, still hasn't woken up to the fact that Trump's Jerusalem gambit was a trap for Bibi. So it's hilarious that Sco Mo The Unoriginal, is planning to take a flying leap into the same trap!
Anyone with more than half a brain would realise that...
1. No civilised country has followed Trump's lead.
2. Trump can, and will, reverse his (illegal) Jerusalem decision out of a 'new-found respect' for International Law.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 18, 2018 12:14:08 AM | 83

Posted by: JNDillard | Oct 17, 2018 11:59:34 PM | 81


https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-saudi-arabia-payment-20181017-story.html

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 17, 2018 11:19:22 PM | 79

Whoever is ultimately behind this campaign (which I suspect is a loose association of interest groups spread throughout SA, Turkey, London citi, wall street, whoever) they will not stop until MbS is paraded through the streets in chains or at least his head at the end of a lance. At this point the only question how many days will it take to see his head on a pike?

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 17, 2018 11:24:27 PM | 80

"Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. They say it's a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen."

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/aramroston/mercenaries-assassination-us-yemen-uae-spear-golan-dahlan

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 17, 2018 10:26:46 PM | 77

Posted by: Gary Weglarz | Oct 17, 2018 10:22:19 PM | 76

[Oct 19, 2018] Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder by Philip M. GIRALDI

Oct 18, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Getting to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance is a bit like peeling an onion. It is known that Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 nd to get a document that would enable him to marry a Turkish woman. It is also known, from surveillance cameras situated outside the building, that he never came out walking the same way he entered. The presumption is that he was either killed inside or abducted, though the abduction theory would have to be based on a Consulate vehicle leaving the building with him presumably concealed inside, something that has not been confirmed by the Turks. If he was killed inside the building and dismembered, as seems likely, he could have had his body parts removed in the suitcases carried by the alleged fifteen official Saudis who had arrived that morning by private jet and left that afternoon the same way. The supposition is that the fifteen men, which may have included some members of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's bodyguard as well as a physician skilled in autopsies who was carrying a bone saw, constituted the execution party for Khashoggi.

There are certain things that should be observed about the Turks, since they are the ones claiming that the disappearance of Khashoggi may have included a summary execution and dismemberment. The Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very good, very active and very focused on monitoring the activities of foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. They use electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to the Turkish government. In my own experience when I was in Istanbul, I had microphones concealed in various places in my residence and both my office and home phones were tapped. A number of local hire consulate employees were believed to be informants for MIT but they were not allowed anywhere near sensitive information.

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be termed rivals if not something stronger, it is to be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, and may have had a Turkish employer inside who observed some of what was going on. Which is to say that the Turks certainly know exactly what occurred but are playing their cards closely to see what they can derive from that knowledge. The two countries have already initiated a joint investigation into what took place. Turkey's economy is in free fall and would benefit from "investment" from the Saudis to create an incentive to close the book on Khashoggi. In other words, Turkey's perspective on the disappearance could easily be influenced by Saudi money and the investigation might well turn up nothing that is definitive.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has a couple of cards to play also even if it did kill and dismember Khashoggi under orders from the Crown Prince. First of all, the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars, is underwritten by the Saudis. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy U.S. treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. That all means that the United States will be looking for an outcome that will not do too much damage to the Saudis.

Second, Saudi Arabia is in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran. This means the Israel Lobby and its many friends in Congress will squawk loudly about Khashoggi but ultimately shy away from doing anything about it. It already appears that a cover story is halfway in place to explain what happened. It is being suggested that a "rogue" element from Saudi Arabia might have carried out without the knowledge of the Crown Prince an interrogation or abduction attempt that went too far. Donald Trump speculated on Monday that that might be the case, suggesting that it may already be part of the official line that will be promoted. Those who know Saudi Arabia well, however, consider a high-level assassination not ordered by the Crown Prince directly to be extremely unlikely, but that does not necessarily mean that a cover story including that feature might not be successfully floated.

In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump's anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart. Riyadh is also committed to buy tens of billions of dollars' worth of American arms, an agreement that could be canceled if Washington begins to pressure the Saudis for answers. Beyond that, Saudi Arabia could stop pumping oil or fail to increase production when Iranian oil becomes subject to U.S. sanctions early next month, driving the price per barrel up dramatically for everyone. The Saudi government has already indicated that it will respond forcefully to any attempts to punish it over Khashoggi and there is no reason to doubt the seriousness of that threat.

There are, of course, possible impediments to selling the fake news narrative. Some early reports suggested that Khashoggi's fiancé had observed and possibly recorded the execution inside the consulate using the victim's Apple wristwatch linked to an iPad in her possession. If that is true, the release of such material to the media will create worldwide demand to learn the truth that will be difficult to control. Also, there are unconfirmed reports that U.S. intelligence knew in advance of Saudi plans to abduct Khashoggi, which could prove embarrassing to the Trump administration and could narrow its options.

The trick will be to see how a bit of extreme brutal behavior by the Saudis can be manipulated by all interested parties to produce a solution that doesn't damage anyone too much. It will undoubtedly be far from the truth, but truth doesn't necessarily matter much these days.

[Oct 18, 2018] Germany Clashes With The US Over Energy Geopolitics

Notable quotes:
"... This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach . ..."
"... By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest. ..."
"... She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open. ..."
"... What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018. ..."
"... Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana. ..."
"... IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere. ..."
"... So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines. ..."
"... Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA. ..."
"... It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong? ..."
"... The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/ ..."
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach .

Yves here. It's not hard to see that this tiff isn't just about Russia. The US wants Germany to buy high-priced US LNG.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project -- Germany -- supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it -- which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall -- Germany has just said that Washington shouldn't interfere with Europe's energy choices and policies.

"I don't want European energy policy to be defined in Washington," Germany's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was "certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project."

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply." Related: The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," President Trump said.

Germany continues to see Nord Stream 2 as a commercial venture, although it wants clarity on the future role of Ukraine as a transit route, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said last month.

Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass Ukraine, and Ukraine fears it will lose transit fees and leverage over Russia as the transit route for its gas to western Europe.

Poland, one of the most outspoken opponents of Nord Stream 2, together with the United States, issued a joint statement last month during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, in which the parties said , "We will continue to coordinate our efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2."

The United States looks to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European market, including to Germany , to help Europe diversify its energy supply, which is becoming increasingly dependent on Russian supplies. Related: High Prices Benefit Iran Despite Lost Oil Exports

The president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, however, told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung last month, that he had "a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy," referring to the United States. German industry needs Nord Stream 2, and dropping the project to buy U.S. LNG instead wouldn't make any economic sense, he said. U.S. LNG currently is not competitive on the German market and would simply cost too much, according to Kempf.

The lower price of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is a key selling point -- and one that Gazprom uses often. Earlier this month Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee, said at a gas forum in Russia that "Although much talk is going on about new plans for LNG deliveries, there is no doubt that pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world. It goes without saying."

The issue with Nord Stream 2 -- which is already being built in German waters -- is that it's not just a commercial project. Many in Europe and everyone in the United States see it as a Russian political tool and a means to further tighten Russia's grip on European gas supplies, of which it already holds more than a third. But Germany wants to discuss the future of this project within the European Union, without interference from the United States.


Alex V , October 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

Thankfully liquefying gas and then reconstituting it uses no additional energy, and transportation into major harbors is perfectly safe.

Capitalism inaction!

Quentin , October 18, 2018 at 6:23 am

Maybe the US thinks it will also have to go out of its way to accommodate Germany and the EU by offering to construct the necessary infrastructure in Europe for the import of LNG at exorbitant US prices. MAGA. How long would that take?

disillusionized , October 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

The question is, is it inevitable that the EU/US relationship goes sour?

Continentalism is on the rise generally, and specifically with brexit, couple this with the geographical gravity of the EU-Russia relationship makes a EU-Russia "alliance" make more sense than the EU-US relationship.

Ever since the death of the USSR and the accession of the eastern states to the EU, the balance of power in the EU-US relationship has moved in ways it seems clear that the US is uncomfortable with.

To all of this we must add the policy differences between the US and the EU – see the GDPR and the privacy shield for example.

I have said it before – the day Putin dies (metaphorically or literally) is a day when the post war order in Europe may die, and we see the repairing of the EU-Russia relationship (by which I mean the current regime in Russia will be replaced with a new generation far less steeped in cold war dogma and way more interested in the EU).

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm

"The post war order in Europe will doe and we see the repairing of the EU/Russian relationship "

I think you mean the German/Russian relationship and that repair has been under way for more than a decade. The post war order is very very frayed already and looks close to a break point.

This Nord Stream 2 story illustrates more than most Germany's attitudes to the EU and to the world at large. Germany used its heft within the EU to 1 ) get control of Russian gas supplies into Central Europe (Germany insisted that Poland could not invest in the project apparently and refused a landing point for the pipeline in Poland. Instead it offered a flow back valve from Germany into Poland that the Germans would control) 2) thumb its nose at the US while outwardly declaring friendship through the structures provided by EU and NATO membership.

Even Obama suspected the Germans of duplicity (the Merkel phone hacking debacle).

It's is this repairing relationship that will set the tone for Brexit, the Ukraine war, relations between Turkey and EU and eventually the survival of the EU and NATO. The point ? Germany doesn't give a hoot about the EU it served its purpose of keeping Germany anchored to the west and allowing German reunification to solidify while Russia was weak. Its usefulness is in the past now, however from a German point of view.

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Putin dying isn't going to change Washington. As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest.

Come to think of it, maybe Merkel dying off would improve German-Russian relations

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open.

Germany won't lose if NATO and the EU break up. It would free itself from a range increasingly dis-functional entities that, in its mind, restrict its ability to engage in world affairs.

Susan the other , October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think you are right. Russia and Germany are coming together and there's nothing we can do about it because "private commercial venture." Poetic justice.

And the economic link will lead to political links and we will have to learn a little modesty. The ploy we are trying to use, selling Germany US LNG could not have been anything more than a stopgap supply line until NG from the ME came online but that has been our achilles heel.

It feels like even if we managed to kick the Saudis out and took over their oil and gas we still could no longer control geopolitics. The cat is out of the bag and neoliberalism has established the rules. And it's pointless because there is enough gas and oil and methane on this planet to kill the human race off but good.

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Susan

That exactly right. and Gerhard Schroder has been developing those political relationships for more than a decade. The political/economic links already go very deep on both sides.

if the rapprochement is occurring, Brexit, the refugee crisis and Italy's approaching debt crisis are all just potential catalysts for an inevitable breakup. Germany likely views these as potential opportunities to direct European realignment rather than existential crises to be tackled.

JimL , October 18, 2018 at 7:08 am

What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

The US produces annually about 33,000,000 million cubic feet and consumes 27.000.000 million according to the EiA . So there is an excess to export indeed.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Leaving 6,000,000 million to be exported, until the shale gas no longer flows. How farsighted.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:42 am

Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana.

I don't know much about NG markets in Poland but according to Eurostat prices for non-household consumers are very similar in Poland, Germany, Lithuania or Spain.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

Gas contracts are usually linked to oil prices. A lot of LNG is traded as a fungible product like oil, but that contract seems different – most likely its constructed this way because of the huge capital cost of the LNG facilities, which make very little economic sense for a country like Poland which has pipelines criss-crossing it. I suspect the terminals have more capacity that the contract quantity – the surplus would be traded at market prices, which would no doubt be where the profit margin is for the supplier (I would be deeply sceptical that unsubsidised LNG could ever compete with Russia gas, the capital costs involved are just too high).

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere.

IMO, the folks responsible for this waste are as usual, ignoring the 'externalities', the costs to the environment of course, but also the cost of infrastructure and transport related to turning this situation to their advantage.

So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines.

This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the whole fracked gas supply may be a short-lived phenomenon, associated with what we've been describing here as basically a finance game.

Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

Just to clarify, fracked gas is not usually a by-product of oil fracking – the geological beds are usually distinct (shale gas tends to occur at much deeper levels than tight oil). Gas can however be a byproduct of conventional oil production. 'wet' gas (propane, etc), can be a by-product of either.

Synapsid , October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

PlutoniumKun,

It's common for oil wells both fracked and conventional to produce natural gas (NG) though not all do. The fracked wells in the Permian Basin are producing a great deal of it.

Natural gas does indeed form at higher temperatures than oil does and that means at greater depth but both oil and NG migrate upward. Exploration for petroleum is hunting for where it gets captured at depth, not for where it's formed. Those source rocks are used as indicators of where to look for petroleum trapped stratigraphically higher up.

Steve , October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong?

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

What could go wrong?

I wonder what the secret industry studies say about the damage possible from an accident at a LNG port terminal involving catastrophic failure and combustion of the entire cargo of a transport while unloading high-pressure LNG.

They call a fuel-air bomb the size of a school bus 'The Mother of all bombs', what about one the size of a large ocean going tanker?

Anarcissie , October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

Many years ago, someone was trying to build an LNG storage facility on the southwest shore of Staten Island 17 miles SW of Manhattan involving very large insulated tanks. In spite of great secrecy, there came to be much local opposition. At the time it was said that the amount of energy contained in the tanks would be comparable to a nuclear weapon. Various possible disaster scenarios were proposed, for example a tank could be compromised by accident (plane crashes into it) or terrorism, contents catch fire and explode, huge fireball emerges and drifts with the wind, possibly over New Jersey's chemical farms or even towards Manhattan. The local opponents miraculously won. As far as I know, the disused tanks are still there.

Wukchumni , October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

This was a fuel-air bomb @ Burning Man about a dozen years ago, emanating from an oil derrick of sorts.

I was about 500 feet away when it went up, and afterwards thought maybe we were a bit too close to the action, as we got blasted with heat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyc6LTVxhJA

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

Does this page help Watt4Bob?

https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/LNG/app4.htm

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

That last one was a doozy as they say!

Nigeria 2005;

A 28-inch LNG underground pipeline exploded in Nigeria and the resulting fire engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers.

Here's one from Cleveland;

On 20 October 1944, a liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio, split and leaked its contents, which spread, caught fire, and exploded. A half hour later, another tank exploded as well. The explosions destroyed 1 square mile (2.6 km2), killed 130, and left 600 homeless.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The locals in Nigeria drill hole in pipeline to get free fuel.

The Nigeria Government has been really wonderful about sharing the largess and riches of their large petroleum field in the Niger delta. Mostly with owners of expensive property around the world.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

I am trying to think of what might be in it for the Germans to go along with this deal but cannot see any. The gas would be far more expensive that the Russian deliveries. A fleet of tankers and the port facilities would have to be built and who is going to pick up the tab for that? Then if the terminal is in Louisiana, what happens to deliveries whenever there is a hurricane?

I cannot see anything in it for the Germans at all. Trump's gratitude? That and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee. In any case Trump would gloat about the stupidity of the Germans taking him up on the deal, not feel gratitude. The US wants Germany to stick with deliveries via the Ukraine as they have their thumb on that sorry country and can threaten Germany with that fact. Nord Stream 2 (and the eventual Nord Stream 3) threaten that hold.

The killer argument is this. In terms of business and remembering what international agreements Trump has broken the past two years, who is more reliable as a business partner for Germany – Putin's Russia or Trump's America?

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

Apart from cost issues, If American companies rely on shale gas to keep or increase production will they be able to honor 20 year supply contracts?

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find it impossible to believe that a gas supplier would keep to an artificially low LNG contract if, say, a very cold winter in the US led to a shortage and extreme price spike. They'd come up with some excuse not to deliver.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

Good question that. Poland has just signed a 20 year agreement with the US so I will be curious how that works out for them. Story at - https://www.rt.com/business/441494-poland-us-gas-lng/

jsn , October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Trumps argument appears to be that Germany as a NATO member relies on US DOD for defense, to pay for that they must buy our LNG.

jefemt , October 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

My recollection was that there was a law that prohibited export-sales of domestic US hydrocarbons. That law was under attack, and went away in the last couple years?

LNG with your F35? said the transactional Orangeman

Duck1 , October 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The fracked crude is ultralight and unsuitable for the refineries in the quantities available, hence export, which caused congress to change the law. No expert, but understand that it is used a lot as a blender with heavier stocks of crude, quite a bit going to China.

oh , October 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

The petroleum industry has been bribing lobbying the administration for quite a while to get this policy in place, The so called surplus of NG today (if there is), won't last long. Exports will create a shortage and will result in higher prices to all.

vidimi , October 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

also, if Germany were to switch to American LNG, for how long would this be a reliable energy source? Fracking wells are short lived, so what happens once they are depleted? who foots the bill?

John k , October 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

We do. Shortage here to honor export contracts, as has happened in Australia.

Big Tap , October 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

Unna , October 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Putting money aside for a moment, Trump, as well as the entire American establishment, doesn't want Russia "controlling" Germany's energy supplies. That's because they want America to control Germany's energy supplies via controlling LNG deliveries from America to Germany and by controlling gas supplies to Germany through Ukraine. This by maintaining America's control over Ukraine's totally dependent puppet government. The Germans know this so they want Nord Stream 2 & 3.

Ukraine is an unreliable energy corridor on a good day. It is run by clans of rapacious oligarchs who don't give one whit about Ukraine, the Ukrainian "people", or much of anything else except business. The 2019 presidential election may turn into a contest among President Poroshenko the Chocolate King, Yulia Tymoshenko the Gas Princess, as well as some others including neo Nazis that go downhill from there. What competent German government would want Germany's energy supplies to be dependent on that mess?

It has been said that America's worst geopolitical nightmare is an economic-political-military combination of Russia, Iran, and China in the Eurasian "heartland". Right up there, if not worse, is a close political-economic association between Germany and Russia; now especially so since such a relationship can quickly be hooked into China's New Silk Road, which America will do anything to subvert including tariffs, sanctions, confiscations of assets, promotion of political-ethnic-religious grievances where they may exist along the "Belt-Road", as well as armed insurrections, really maybe anything short of all out war with Russia and China.

Germany's trying to be polite about this saying, sure, how about a little bit of LNG along with Nord Stream 2 & 3? But the time may come, if America pushes enough, that Germany will have to make an existential choice between subservience to America, and pursuit of it's own legitimate self interest.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The Empire fights Back.

Study a map of the ME, and consider the silk road Terminii.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It's hard to make NG explode, as it is with all liquid hydrocarbons. It is refrigerated, and must change from liquid to gaseous for, and be mixed with air.

I've also worked on a Gas Tanker in the summer vacations. The gas was refrigerated, and kept liquid. They is a second method, used for NG, that is to allow evaporation from the cargo, and use it as fuel for the engine (singular because there is one propulsion engine on most large ships) on the tanker.

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I dunno, there are other opinions .

[Oct 17, 2018] Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9-11 Bombshell-

Oct 17, 2018 | theduran.com

The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist's life was in danger, why didn't they tip him off to avoid his doom?

Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite's point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: "He knew where all the bodies were buried."

For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.

Khashoggi's articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he's known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.

While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as "a reformer", Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.

However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.

He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki's father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.

For nearly 23 years, from 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the director of the Mukhabarat, the Saudi state intelligence apparatus. He was instrumental in Saudi, American and British organization of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to combat Soviet forces. Those militants in Afghanistan later evolved into the al Qaeda terror network, which has served as a cat's paw in various US proxy wars across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, including Russia's backyard in the Caucasus.

Ten days before the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City, in which some 3,000 Americans died, Prince Turki retired from his post as head of Saudi intelligence. It was an abrupt departure, well before his tenure was due to expire.

There has previously been speculation in US media that this senior Saudi figure knew in advance that something major was going down on 9/11. At least 15 of the 19 Arabs who allegedly hijacked three commercial airplanes that day were Saudi nationals.

Prince Turki has subsequently been named in a 2002 lawsuit mounted by families of 9/11 victims. There is little suggestion he was wittingly involved in organizing the terror plot. Later public comments indicated that Prince Turki was horrified by the atrocity. But the question is: did he know of the impending incident, and did he alert US intelligence, which then did not take appropriate action to prevent it?

Jamal Khashoggi had long served as a trusted media advisor to Prince Turki, before the latter resigned from public office in 2007. Following 9/11, Turki was the Saudi ambassador to both the US and Britain.

A tentative idea here is that Khashoggi, in his close dealings with Prince Turki over the years, may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. Were the Arab hijackers mere patsies used by the American CIA to facilitate an event which has since been used by American military planners to launch a global "war on terror" as a cover for illegal wars overseas? There is a huge body of evidence that the 9/11 attacks were indeed a "false flag" event orchestrated by the US deep state as a pretext for its imperialist rampages.

The apparent abduction and murder last week of Jamal Khashoggi seems such an astoundingly desperate move by the Saudi rulers. More evidence is emerging from Turkish sources that the journalist was indeed lured to the consulate in Istanbul where he was killed by a 15-member hit squad. Reports are saying that the alleged assassination was ordered at the highest level of the Saudi royal court, which implicates Crown Prince MbS.

Why would the Saudi rulers order such a heinous act, which would inevitably lead to acute political problems, as we are seeing in the fallout from governments and media coverage around the world?

Over the past year, the House of Saud had been appealing to Khashoggi to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. He declined, fearing that something more sinister was afoot. When Khashoggi turned up in Istanbul to collect a divorce document from the Saudi consulate on September 28, it appears that the House of Saud decided to nab him. He was told to return to the consulate on October 2. On that same day, the 15-member group arrived from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets for the mission to kill him.

Official Saudi claims stretch credulity. They say Khashoggi left the consulate building unharmed by a backdoor, although they won't provide CCTV images to prove that. The Turks say their own CCTV facilities monitoring the front and back of the Saudi consulate show that Khashoggi did not leave the premises. The Turks seem confident of their claim he was murdered inside the building, his remains dismembered and removed in diplomatic vehicles. The two private jets left the same day from Istanbul with the 15 Saudis onboard to return to Riyadh, via Cairo and Dubai.

To carry out such a reckless act, the Saudis must have been alarmed by Khashoggi's critical commentaries appearing in the Washington Post. The columns appeared to be delivering more and more damaging insights into the regime under Crown Prince MbS.

The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.

But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn't US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.

Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.

[Oct 14, 2018] According to an article in the Duran Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghan

Notable quotes:
"... He is just an agent of one Saudii faction against the MBS faction, a faction just as evil. ..."
"... After Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, was kidnapped and taken to Riyadh to be re-educated (tortured) Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia . Khashoggi continued with his columns criticizing the Saudi regime, attacking its campaign in Yemen on Al Jazeera. ..."
Oct 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Oct 12, 2018 7:14:54 PM | link

According to an article in the Duran Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.

Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud was Khashoggi's political protector. Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud was at the center of relations between Washington and Saudi Arabia against the USSR while it was in Afghanistan using fighters who later became known as Al Qaeda - armed and trained by CIA:Pakistan and financed by the Saudis.

Faisal became the leader of Saudi intelligence. He was removed from his post on May 24, 2001, a few months before September 11, 2001 (convenient) .The connections he had with Osama bin Laden led him to being sued by relatives of 9/11 directed at him and other Saudi operatives.

In 2005, Turki bin Faisal was appointed Saudi ambassador to the US during the Bush administration, with Khashoggi accompanying him as a media advisor. During Turki bin Faisal's ambassadorship in Washington, Khashoggi assumed the position of head of press relations, coming into direct contact with major national and international organs of US media.

During the Obama administration, Khashoggi supported the Obama administrations strategy of color revolutions and the Arab Spring to extend US imperialist domination following the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was most likely a CIA asset, perhaps also Saudi intelligence as well

When MBS became the strongman holding power in Saudi Arabia, he triggered a near war with Qatar with Trumps blessing, and was unhappy over the role of Al Jazeera, which often hosted Khashoggi and was increasingly critical of MBS.

So whatever the story is I am not losing any sleep over Khashoggi. He is just an agent of one Saudii faction against the MBS faction, a faction just as evil. Kind of like the pick between agents of the 2 factions duking it out in the US. Evil does vs Evil do. There are no white knights here.

After Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, was kidnapped and taken to Riyadh to be re-educated (tortured) Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia . Khashoggi continued with his columns criticizing the Saudi regime, attacking its campaign in Yemen on Al Jazeera.


jiri , Oct 13, 2018 1:34:56 AM | link

This seems well co-ordinated.

The BBC, Guardian giving it lots of attention.

Even the UN Sec-Gen has statement on it.

A lot of attention compared to lots of deaths in Yemen, for example.

Something is afoot. But what?

teri , Oct 13, 2018 5:24:19 AM | link
What hypocrisy on display by the US. Unfuckingbelievable. Such concern for a journalist, such outrage!

There is currently a case working its way through the court system (here in the US) brought by two journalists, one of them an American, where they are pleading to have their names removed from the US "kill list". They say their inclusion on the list is erroneous, and ask that they be given a chance to show that they are not, in fact, terrorists before a drone blows them into pieces. They are represented by Reprieve lawyers, and they joined their two suits together as co-plainiffs, although it now appears that the foreign-born journalist was basically told by the judge he was shit out of luck, having "no standing", since he didn't sufficiently prove that he was on the list. (He had found his name listed as a "highest scoring target" on some of Edward Snowden's leaked NSA materials, but that was not enough "proof" for the judge.)

The American journalist is Bilal Kareem, and the other is a journalist from Pakistan named Ahmad Zaidan. BTW, both these men were originally targeted under the Obama administration, but their names remain on the list under Trump. And Trump has increased the use of these targeted drone killings by 4 to 5 times the number of Obama's, who himself had increased the assassination program 10 fold over Bush' numbers. Trump has also loosened the "rules" about where these drone killings can take place, and who can be targeted. US drone warfare has taken the lives of some 10,858 individuals since 2004, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

The Washington Post and the Middle East Monitor both have good stories about the case, but the best article by far is Matt Taibbi's article in Rolling Stone published on 19 July.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/how-to-survive-americas-kill-list-699334/

mali , Oct 13, 2018 8:46:22 AM | link
According to NYT , Khashoggi "had expressed concern to a friend on Monday that he could be kidnapped and returned to Saudi Arabia if he visited the consulate". He went in at 1:30pm , while his friend and fiancée were waiting outside till 9:00pm .

Isn't it a bit odd that his friend and fiancée, while fully aware the danger of him being kidnapped insider the consulate, waited for 7:30 hours before alerting Turkish authorities? Normally it takes 2 or 3 hours get a document, esp. already processed ones. Why didn't his friend and fiancée alert the Turkish police earlier? Esp. "he left his cellphone outside with Hatice, who had instructions to alert his friends if Mr. Khashoggi did not return".

Mr. Khashoggi's wife had remained in Saudi Arabia while he was no longer able to return freely. Their separation had led to a divorce, and he wanted to remarry to a Turkish woman.

Normally, you don't divorce your wife/husband because of one-year's separation. According to this NYT article, Khashogg divided his time between the Washington, D.C., London and Istanbul, how long did he come to know his fiancée? Isn't it a bit too rush/risky for a 59-year old man suddenly decided to divorce long-year wife and marry a new Turkish girl friend? Could it be a honey trap?

" Odd dates ?"

- Oct. 2, Khashoggi disappeared.

- Oct. 3, Trump told his supporters that Saudi could last two weeks without American support.

- Oct. 6, MbS said Suadi could survive 2000 years without US help .

- Now full-blown MSM storm, State Deparment is closely monitor the whole affair, Turkish government is feeding the media with all sorts of lurid details and claims. (Isn't it much easier and simpler just to kidnap/shot him on the streets of Istanbul or London than dismembering his body inside Istanbul consulate?)

Now Saudi is "willing to cooperate" with Turkey, American priest Brauson is set free, plus MbS now has probably to purchase tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions of US armaments. What a "coincident" win-win situation for Erdy and Trump.


Den Lille Abe , Oct 13, 2018 8:46:30 AM | link
As another poster commented, something is missing...
It is like a well choreograhped drame, Skripals were the same, this also is tooooo nice fitting together... Hmfr!
Qui bono? Who makes money on this? I certainly cannot answer that, but lets play safe : The Russians did it!
They beamed up Kasshoggi to their base on the dark side of the moon, the re killed him in civilized manner, fucking him to death with nice looking whores and spoonfeeding him Beluga caviar and interjected wit sips of Russian Starka. He was then made to mush and beamed back into the Saudi consulate making a real mess. Now poor headchop promoter is all over the place! He must love that up in his muslum heaven with 72 old hags. There is no martyrdom in being beamed to the moon and put through a garden shredder, that is nothing special.
So now the Saudi's has Khassoggi al over their faces (literally :)) and the Turks eye a new way to betray someone (Putin, wake up!!). Ever since democracy was bestowed on these people, they have made a mess of it.
Back in the day (when I was gung ho Army boy), it was OK for a Turk officer to shoot dead a couple of conscripts a year, no problemo, the sentries with weapons had no live rounds hi-hi. Turkey does not need a hard shove and it will crumble, and the Americans will intervene, unless Russia is first.
This game is about Turkey, and not goat herders in Saudi Sodoma. They have hardly oil left and the plebs are angry.

[Oct 09, 2018] The Next Pillar Of Oil Demand Growth

Oct 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nick Cunningham via Oilprice.com,

The debate about peak oil demand always tends to focus on how quickly electric vehicles will replace the internal-combustion engine , especially as EV sales are accelerating. However, the petrochemical sector will be much more difficult to dislodge , and with alternatives far behind, petrochemicals will account for an increasing share of crude oil demand growth in the years ahead.

[Oct 09, 2018] Why the US empire now after several years of desprate pressure of oil prices down is now content with the possibility of dramatic increase in oil prices ?

Oct 09, 2018 | thesaker.is

Outlaw Historian on October 03, 2018 , · at 2:27 pm EST/EDT

You would have to wonder why Putin opened with the following remarks if you were ignorant of the global situation:

"You came here to hold an open and trust based discussion on the issues of the global energy agenda .

"We believe that progress in global energy, as well as the stable energy security of our entire planet, can only be achieved through global partnership, working in accordance with general rules that are the same for everyone, and, of course, through conducting transparent and constructive dialogue among market players which is not politically motivated but is based on pragmatic considerations and an understanding of shared responsibilities and mutual interests." [My Emphasis]

His characterization of Skripal came during the Q&A, and there are likely more gems to be had from that session.

Meanwhile, the Outlaw US Empire has unilaterally withdrawn from a 1955 Treaty with Iran in order to try and avoid today's judgement of the International Court of Justice, https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201810031068561238-us-missions-iraq-threat-iran-pompeo/ and from the optional protocol on disputes to the Vienna convention, https://sputniknews.com/world/201810031068565352-vienna-convention-option-protocol-us-withdrawal/

Waging Illegal Aggressive War, Illegal sanctions, Violations of UNSC Resolutions, Breaking of Contracts, and Ongoing violation of the UN Charter and US Constitution since 1945 are just a few of the reasons why it must be called the Outlaw US Empire as no other term properly describes it. 80 years ago, appeasement didn't work, and it's clear it doesn't work today either. Together the world's nations must bring the Outlaw US Empire to heel and make it obey the Rule of Law and abandon its unilateral Rule of the Gun.

Anonymous on October 03, 2018 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
Ah, there it is. The reason behind this strange week, the dots that few will connect.

Putin speaking at a conference about "sustainable energy in a changing world."

Right there, two phrases that are certain to set off Exxon corp and their puppets in the political theater. Say "sustainable energy" around an oil giant and watch them shudder. The, mention "changing world" to any of that class and they have nightmares about their children having to learn Chinese. Put them all together in one title of a conference at which Putin himself is speaking and well, now we know why the Shakespearian chorus of Exxon's oil industry bit players like former Texas Governor Rich "the hair" Perry and former Texas Senator Hutchinson are suddenly frothing at the bit about the Park Rangers mounting a naval blockade of Russia (see Yogi Bear for how that's likely to turn out, hey booboo?) and nuclear first strikes on Russia.

Putin, Sustainable Energy, Changing world .. enough to send some senior executive geezers at Exxon grabbing for their nitro pills and speed dialing their cardiologists.

Dr. NG Maroudas on October 04, 2018 , · at 5:49 am EST/EDT
For those who like to call Russia "a gas station masquerading as a country" here is Putin's note on ecology:

"A separate ambitious task for the future is the development of renewable energy sources, especially in remote, difficult-to-access areas of this country, such as Eastern Siberia, and the Far East. This is opening a great opportunity for our vast country, the world's largest country with its diverse natural and climatic conditions.

Friends, in conclusion I would like to tell you the following: sustainable and steady development of the energy industry is a key condition for dynamic growth of the world economy, enhancing living standards and improving the wellbeing of all people on our planet.

Russia is open to cooperation in the energy industry in the interests of global energy security and for the benefit of the future generations. And we certainly rely on active dialogue on these subjects and cooperation.

Thank you for your attention". -- President Putin

milan on October 05, 2018 , · at 9:30 pm EST/EDT
Nothing is going to save us from our energy problems, nothing and especially not renewables.

Spend some time reading and studying Gail Tverberg's material and one will quickly see we are heading for a financial catastrophe because of affordability issues. On the one hand there isn't enough money to pay for extraction of oil and gas and on the other the consumer is strapped because of high pump prices etc. But like she herself says if only the wages of non elite workers could rise high enough to help pay for the increased costs then likely we wouldn't have a problem. That though is clearly not happening.

I am deeply afraid we are going to wake up to a world very different from the one we went to sleep in. Just this one article alone expresses the grave situation the world is in:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-15/truckers-asleep-at-the-wheel-as-diesel-price-shock-creeps-closer

Every time Chuck Paar makes the over 500-mile round trip from his home in Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, to Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, his 18-wheel tractor trailer carries 25 tons of sand or cement and burns about $265 of diesel in one day. That's up from as little as $166 for the same route two years ago, and the increased cost of fuel is squeezing already thin industry profit margins.

It's about to get worse.

[Oct 05, 2018] Oil heading to $100 OPEC is 'powerless to prevent it' analyst

Notable quotes:
"... "Nobody wants to get caught short, full in the knowledge that more Iranian barrels are poised to be removed from the market, ..."
"... "Against this backdrop of dwindling Iranian oil supplies, the focus will turn to meek levels of global, or more accurately, Saudi spare capacity, ..."
"... "this essentially leaves the world's only swing producer powerless to prevent a supply shock and subsequent price spike in the final quarter of this year," ..."
Oct 05, 2018 | www.rt.com

Crude prices will likely reach $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014, and OPEC has no leverage to prevent such a scenario, an analyst has warned. "Nobody wants to get caught short, full in the knowledge that more Iranian barrels are poised to be removed from the market, " Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note published on Monday, as quoted by CNBC. Read more © Evgenyi Samarin Russia's September oil production set for post-Soviet record high

On Monday, Brent crude surged above $83 per barrel as Iran continues losing its crude exports ahead of US sanctions which come into force in November. "Against this backdrop of dwindling Iranian oil supplies, the focus will turn to meek levels of global, or more accurately, Saudi spare capacity, " Brennock said.

Saudi Arabia has been unable to offset the lost Iranian crude exports. And "this essentially leaves the world's only swing producer powerless to prevent a supply shock and subsequent price spike in the final quarter of this year," he added.

Iran could lose up to 1.5 million barrels per day when US sanctions kick in early November. In May, Iran sold 2.71 million bpd abroad, nearly three percent of daily global oil consumption.

The US is rapidly increasing its production. In September, it hit a record 11.1 million bpd, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That is an increase of almost a third since 2016. However, the increase in US production is not enough to offset the loss of Iranian output.

[Oct 05, 2018] Putin on Venesuella

Oct 05, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

[Oct 05, 2018] Russian Energy Week International Forum: Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the second Russian Energy Week Energy Efficiency and Energy Development International Forum.

Oct 03, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Indeed, we have now met with the Secretary General and spoke about our cooperation in detail. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that probably for the first time in history all participants in the agreements honoured their commitments in full. I believe Russia made a commitment to reduce production by 30,000 barrels, and we did this, just like all other participants in this agreement.

The market is now balanced. The current growth of oil prices is by and large not a result of our efforts but triggered by attendant circumstances, expectations of decisions on Iran – incidentally these decisions are absolutely illegal and harmful to the world economy. The fall in oil production in North Africa is also linked with political circumstances – a civil war and so on. The reduction in Venezuela is also taking place for domestic political reasons and in connection with the restrictions it has introduced. This is what it is all about.

As you said, President Trump considers this price high. I think he is right to some extent but this suits us very well – $65–$70–$75 per barrel. This is quite enough to ensure the effective performance of energy companies and the investment process. But let us be straight – such prices have largely been produced by the activities of the US administration. I am referring to expectations of sanctions against Iran and political problems in Venezuela. Look what is happening in Libya – the state is destroyed. This is the result of irresponsible policy that is directly affecting the world economy. Therefore, we must work closer with each other, not only in the energy industry but also in the political area so as to prevent such setbacks.

As for increasing production – we have already increased it by 400,000 barrels as we agreed with our partners. We can raise it by another 200,000–300,000 barrels per day if need be. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, is it right for the President of the United States to be so actively trying to manage the price of oil? We're coming up on elections in the United States, he's concerned about the price of gas. A gallon of gas in the United States costs almost $3. Traditionally, voters punish the party in power when prices rise ahead of elections. Is he doing the right thing, or actually should he step out of the oil market and let the market dictate what happens?

Vladimir Putin : I have already said this and want to repeat it again: we had a very good meeting with the President of the United States in Helsinki. But if we had talked about the issue we are discussing now, I would have told him: Donald, if you want to find out who is guilty for the increase in prices, you should look in the mirror. That's the truth. We have just spoken about the geopolitical factors behind the price hikes. They exist and really play a role in the market. It is better not to interfere in these market processes, not to try and get some competitive advantage by using political instruments and not to try to regulate prices as the Soviet Union did. This does not end well. After all, when talking about our negotiated actions with OPEC we do not use non-market instruments. We are merely matching supply and demand in the market, no more than that. Everything else today has to do with geopolitical factors that influence prices.

As for gas prices, they are calculated on the basis of oil prices. Oil prices are produced by the market whereas gas prices are linked to oil prices. Gas prices fluctuate depending on oil prices with a small time lag of five to six months. That is all.

What is happening in the United States? The United States is one of the world's biggest producers of both oil and gas. We know everything about new technology that is being countered by environmentalists. I agree with them, this production is often carried out using barbarous methods we do not use.

Who is trying to exert pressure on the administration? I do not know. Let us talk about the energy industry. Please do not involve me in domestic political processes and squabbles in the United States. It is for you to figure out or else we will be accused again of meddling in the domestic political life of the US.

Ryan Chilcote: When I spoke about the price of gasoline in the United States, a gallon of gasoline, I meant the price of petrol, of "benzin," not "gaz."

Vladimir Putin : As you understand, this is the price of the end product and this applies to oil products. This price is not simply formed from the primary price of oil or gas if we are talking about gas fuel. State policy also exerts an influence on the final price for consumers. And what about taxes? Why do some European countries double prices on our gas before it reaches the final consumers? This is all state policy.

So it would be best not to point your finger at energy producers all the time. You should figure out what economic policy is being pursued in a country and what is being done to make sure the product reaches the customers at affordable prices. That is all. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, let me ask you about this EU initiative. What do you make of it?

Vladimir Putin : (commenting on the EU initiative to protect European companies in connection with US sanctions against Iran) It is a bit delayed but better late than never. It is delayed because quite recently the President of France speaking, I believe, in New York directly announced the need to enhance the economic sovereignty of the European Union and reduce its dependence on the United States. This is certainly right.

And how can it be otherwise if, as I have already said, someone is trying to gain competitive advantages in business by using political instruments? I think nobody will like this but this is happening and we are seeing this today.

This is why Europe is thinking about some new opportunities in connection with these circumstances, for instance about dollar-free settlements that incidentally will undermine the dollar. In this context – I have said this many times but would like to repeat it again – I believe that our American partners are committing a huge strategic mistake and undermining confidence in the dollar as today's only reserve currency. They are undermining confidence in it as a universal instrument and are really biting the hand that feeds.

This is strange, even surprising, but I think this is a typical mistake made by any empire when people believe nothing will happen, that everything is so powerful, so strong and stable that there will be no negative consequences. But no, they will come sooner or later. This is the first point.

And the second point, Europe wants to fulfil its international commitments – this is how we understand our European partners – in this case, as regards Iran's nuclear deal, and sees in it, as we do, an element of stability in global affairs, in global politics, which, in one way or another, is reflected in the global economy, as we have already noted.

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Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, I'd like to go back to Iran for a second. One of the things that the United States would like to see Iran do is to obviously withdraw from Syria. The US national security advisor just last week said that the United States is going to now stay in Syria as long as Iran and its proxies are there. Russia has been very clear. Russia says that the US military's presence in Iran is illegal. What can you do about the US being in Syria?

Vladimir Putin : There are two options available to remedy the situation.

The first is that the United States must obtain the mandate of the UN Security Council to have its armed forces on the territory of another country, in this case Syria, or receive an invitation from the legitimate Syrian government to deploy its troops there for whatever reason. International law does not allow the presence of any country on the territory of another country for other reasons.

Ryan Chilcote: What can Russia do to change the US' position? The US says it's going to stay, that Iran has to leave, and the US will stay until Iran pulls out of Syria. So what can Russia do?

Vladimir Putin : As we are all well aware, in this particular case the United States (just read the UN Charter to see that my point is correct, and this is not news to anyone) is violating the UN Charter and international law by its presence on the territory of another country without the authorisation of the UN Security Council, without a corresponding resolution and without the invitation of the government of that country. There is nothing good about it.

We have been operating on the premise that we nonetheless cooperate with our US partners in fighting terrorism and ISIS in Syria. But as ISIS gradually ceases to exist in Syria, there is just no other rationale, even outside the framework of international law.

What, in my opinion, can be done and what should we all strive to achieve? We must strive to ensure that there are no foreign troops from other countries in Syria at all. This is what we need to achieve.

Ryan Chilcote : Including Russian forces, of course.

Vladimir Putin : Yes, including Russian, if the Syrian government so decides.

Ryan Chilcote : You just struck a deal with President Erdogan on Syria. Do you think that that's going to hold?

Vladimir Putin : How is that related to oil?

Russian Energy Week International Forum.
Russian Energy Week International Forum.

Ryan Chilcote : It's in a very sensitive geopolitical area.

Vladimir Putin : Maybe it is related, since Syria also produces energy resources and influences the market situation one way or another.

In this sense, yes, we need a stable Syria, no question about it. I am not even talking about other aspects related to international security and fighting terrorism.

This is a very good deal (between Russia and Turkey in this particular case), because it prevented more bloodshed. As you may recall, it includes our agreement to create a demilitarised zone 15–20 kilometres deep, a de-escalation zone near the city of Idlib, known as the Idlib zone. I would like to note that along with our Turkish partners we are now working to implement these agreements. We can see it and are grateful to them for their efforts, and we will continue to work with them on this matter with the support of Iran.

Ryan Chilcote : Let's return to energy, or at least more directly to energy, President Putin, and talk about Nord Stream 2. That's the pipeline that Gazprom wants to build between Russia and Germany. Again, the President of the United States has said his opinion about this. He says that Germany is effectively a hostage already of Russia, because it depends on Russia for so much of its energy and gas supplies, and that it's vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation" from Russia. What do you make of that?

Vladimir Putin : My response is very simple. Donald and I talked about this very briefly in Helsinki. In any sale, including the sale of our gas to Europe, we are traditionally the supplier, of pipeline gas I mean. We have been doing this since the 1960s. We are known for doing it in a highly responsible and professional manner, and at competitive prices for the European market. In general, if you look at the characteristics of the entire gas market, the price depends on the quantity and on sales volumes. The distance between Russia and Europe is such that pipeline gas is optimal. And the price will always be competitive, always. This is something all experts understand.

We have a lot of people here in this room, in the first row, who could easily be seated next to me, and I would gladly listen to them, because each one is an expert, so each of them can tell you that. And so Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project, I want to emphasise this, warranted by rising energy consumption, including in Europe, and falling domestic production in European countries. They have to get it from somewhere.

Russian gas accounts for around 34 percent of the European market. Is this a lot or a little? It is not insubstantial, but not a monopoly either. Europe certainly can and does actually buy gas from other suppliers, but American liquefied gas is about 30 percent more expensive than our pipeline gas on the European market. If you were buying products of the same quality and you were offered the same product for 30 percent more , what would you choose? So, what are we talking about?

If Europe starts buying American gas for 30 percent more than ours, the entire economy of Germany, in this case, would quickly become dramatically less competitive. Everyone understands this; it is an obvious fact.

But business is business, and we are ready to work with all partners. As you know, our German partners have already begun offshore construction. We are ready to begin as well. We have no problems with obtaining any permits. Finland agreed, and so did Sweden, Germany, and the Russian Federation. This is quite enough for us. The project will be implemented.

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Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, did you want to jump in here?

Vladimir Putin: (following up on the remarks by CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden) We understand the realities and treat all our partners with respect. We have very good, amiable long-term relations with all our partners, including the company represented by my neighbour on the left. This company is working in the Russian market and working with great success, but we understand everything very well and understand the realities. We are carrying out the project ourselves. We do not and will not have any problems here. That is to say, they may arise, of course, but we will resolve them.

Some things are beyond the realm of political intrigue. Take supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that the decision was made there to shut down the nuclear power industry. But that is 34 percent of its total energy balance. We are proud of the development of the nuclear power industry in the Russian Federation, although the figure for us is just 16 percent. We are still thinking about how to raise it to 25 percent and are making plans. Theirs is 34 percent and everything will be closed down. What will this vacuum be filled with? What?

Look at LNG [liquefied natural gas ] which is sold by our various competitors and partners. Yes, LNG can and should be in the common basket of Europe and Germany. Do you know how many ports built in Europe are used for LNG transfer? Just 25 percent. Why? Because it is unprofitable.

There are companies and regions for which it is profitable to supply LNG and this is being done. The LNG market is growing very fast. But as for Europe, it is not very profitable, or unprofitable altogether.

Therefore, in one way or another we have already seen Nord Stream 1 through and its performance is excellent. Incidentally, our gas supplies to Europe are continuously growing. Last year, I believe, they amounted to 194 billion cubic metres and this year they will add up to 200 billion cubic metres or maybe even more.

We have loaded practically all our infrastructure facilities: Blue Stream to Turkey, Nord Stream 1 is fully loaded. Yamal-Europe is fully loaded – it is almost approaching 100 percent, while the demand is going up. Life itself dictates that we carry out such projects.

Ryan Chilcote : President Trump's position on American LNG exports is perhaps a little bit more nuanced. His point is that instead of buying Russian gas, even perhaps if it's a bit more expensive, the Germans and other European allies of the United States, because the United States is paying for their defence, should be buying American gas even if there is, I guess the argument suggests, a little bit of a higher price for that

Vladimir Putin : You know, this argument doesn't really work, in my opinion. I understand Donald. He is fighting for the interests of his country and his business. He is doing the right thing and I would do the same in his place.

As for LNG, as I have already said, it is not just a little more expensive in the European market but 30 percent more. This is not a little bit more, it is a lot more, beyond all reason, and is basically unworkable.

But there are markets where LNG will be adopted, where it is efficient, for instance in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, where did the first shipment of LNG from our new company Yamal-LNG go? Where did the first tanker go? To the United States, because it was profitable. The United States fought this project but ended up buying the first tanker. It was profitable to buy it in this market, at this place and time, and it was purchased.

LNG is still being shipped to the American continent. It's profitable.

It makes no sense to fight against what life brings. We simply need to look for common approaches in order to create favourable market conditions, including, for example, conditions conducive to the production and consumption of LNG in the United States itself and securing the best prices for producers and consumers. This could be achieved by coordinating policy, rather than just imposing decisions on partners.

As for the argument, "We defend you, so buy this from us even if it makes you worse off", I don't think it is very convincing either. Where does it lead? It has led to the Europeans starting to talk about the need to have a more independent defence capability, as well as the need to create a defence alliance of their own that allegedly will not undermine NATO while allowing the Europeans to pursue a real defence policy. This is what, in my view, such steps are leading to.

This is why I am sure that a great many things will be revised. Life will see to that.

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Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

I would like to return to the previous question. After all, we are dealing with energy. I would like to confirm what my colleagues said here about Russia's energy resources and potential. They are indeed enormous. Truly enormous. We are in first place in gas reserves. I believe we have 73.3 trillion cubic metres of gas. The Yamal peninsula was mentioned here but NOVATEK will carry out one more project, Arctic 2, on a neighbouring peninsula. It is about the same size and with the same investment. The first tranche in this project is $27 billion, and the second tranche is about $25 billion. I believe all this will be carried out.

We have the world's largest coal reserves – 275 billion tonnes. We are third in oil reserves. Third in the world in oil reserves. We are the world's largest country by territory. If we take a deeper look we are bound to find many other things. So, we are indeed lucky.

But we were given this not by the Lord alone. Past generations of ours developed these lands. We should never forget what was done by our predecessors, and we will continue to build on it. We will work with our partners. Incidentally, almost all major energy companies work in Russia.

Ryan Chilcote: When we were talking about the EU initiative to try and allow trade between EU countries and Iran, I couldn't help but remember that Russia itself, faced with sanctions, is thinking about a plan to wean itself off of the dollar. This is something that many countries have tried and failed. Why does Russia think that it can succeed in this?

Vladimir Putin : You used the past tense or is the translation inaccurate? Faced. Have the sanctions been lifted? Did I miss something?

Ryan Chilcote: Russia is facing with sanctions.

Vladimir Putin: Okay then. You know, sometimes I think that it would be good for us if those who want to impose sanctions would go ahead and impose all the sanctions they can think of as soon as possible. ( Applause. ) This would free our hands to defend our national interests however we deem most effective for us.

It is very harmful, in general. It hurts the ones doing it. We all figured this out long ago. That is why we have never supported and will never support illegal sanctions that circumvent the United Nations.

Ryan Chilcote: Since you brought up the subject of sanctions, as you know after the Skripal poisoning, Russia is facing even more of them, perhaps as soon as November. What is Russia prepared to do to change the trajectory of relations with the United States and the West?

Vladimir Putin : We are not the ones introducing these sanctions against the United States or the West. We are just responding to their actions, and we do this in very restrained, careful steps so as not to cause harm, primarily to ourselves. And we will continue to do so.

As regards the Skripals and all that, this latest spy scandal is being artificially inflated. I have seen some media outlets and your colleagues push the idea that Skripal is almost a human rights activist. But he is just a spy, a traitor to the motherland. There is such a term, a 'traitor to the motherland,' and that's what he is.

Imagine you are a citizen of a country, and suddenly somebody comes along who betrays your country. How would you, or anybody present here, a representative of any country, feel about such a person? He is scum, that's all. But a whole information campaign has been deployed around it.

I think it will come to an end, I hope it will, and the sooner the better. We have repeatedly told our colleagues to show us the documents. We will see what can be done and conduct an investigation.

We probably have an agreement with the UK on assistance in criminal cases that outlines the procedure. Well, submit the documents to the Prosecutor General's Office as required. We will see what actually happened there.

The fuss between security services did not start yesterday. As you know, espionage, just like prostitution, is one of the most 'important' jobs in the world. So what? Nobody shut it down and nobody can shut it down yet.

Ryan Chilcote : Espionage aside, I think there are two other issues. One is the use of chemical weapons, and let's not forget that in addition to the Skripal family being affected in that attack, there was also a homeless person who was killed when they came in contact with the nerve agent Novichok.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, since we are talking about poisoning Skripal, are you saying that we also poisoned a homeless person there? Sometimes I look at what is happening around this case and it amazes me. Some guys came to England and started poisoning homeless people. Such nonsense. What is this all about? Are they working for cleaning services? Nobody wanted to poison This Skripal is a traitor, as I said. He was caught and punished. He spent a total of five years in prison. We released him. That's it. He left. He continued to cooperate with and consult some security services. So what? What are we talking about right now? Oil, gas or espionage? What is your question?

Let's move on to the other oldest profession and discuss the latest developments in that business. (Laughter.)

Ryan Chilcote : A lot of what we've discussed today goes back to Russia's relationship with the United States, and so I'll ask you just a couple of questions about that and we can move on. The US says you personally ordered the 2016 interference in the elections – I know you deny that. You have said you wanted Trump elected. What do you want to see in 2018 from these midterm election

Vladimir Putin: In Russia or the United States? What are you asking me about?

Ryan Chilcote : What would you like to see happen in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.

Vladimir Putin: What I want – and I am completely serious – is that this nightmare about Russia's alleged interference with some election campaign in the United States ends. I want the United States, the American elite, the US elite to calm down and clear up their own mess and restore a certain balance of common sense and national interests, just like in the oil market. I want the domestic political squabbles in the United States to stop ruining Russia-US relations and adversely affecting the situation in the world.

Ryan Chilcote: I'll ask this final question on the political front. In Helsinki, you said that you wanted President Trump to win because he favours better relations with Russia. But in fact, as Russia itself says all of the time, relations between Russia and the United States seem to get worse every day. Wouldn't it be better for Russia to have a president in the United States that is not politically compromised by the widely held perception that this country helped him get into the White House?

Vladimir Putin : Firstly, I do not believe President Trump was compromised. The people elected him, the people voted for him. There are those who do not like this; those who do not want to respect the opinion of the American voters. But this is not our business – this is an internal matter of the United States.

Would we be better off or worse? I cannot say either. As is known, there are no ifs in politics. Maybe it would have been even worse, how are we to know? We must derive from what is , and work with that. Good or bad, there is no other President of the United States; there is no other United States either.

We will work. The US is the largest world power, a leader in many spheres, our natural partner in a variety of projects, including global security, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, climate change, as well as the environment. We have a lot of common problems which overlap that we have to work on together.

We presume that sooner or later the moment will come when we will be able to restore full-fledged relations.

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Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, I know you need to get a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor, so I'm going to wrap this session up with you, sir. The title of our conversation today is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russian energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes in the world, or what change in the world, would you identify as the biggest concern for you, and what gives you the most optimism when it comes to what we're seeing.

Vladimir Putin: If you allow me, I would stick to the subject. The questions that you asked concern me as well.

Indeed, we are apparently witnessing global warming, but the reasons for this are not entirely clear, because there is still no answer. The so-called anthropogenic emissions are most likely not the main cause of this warming. It could be caused by global changes, cosmic changes, some changes in the galaxy that are invisible to us – and that's that, we don't even understand what is actually happening. Probably, anthropogenic emissions influence the situation somehow, but many experts believe they have an insignificant effect. This is my first point.

Secondly, I already said this, and I can remind you once again. Everyone blames the United States now. As you see, we have many problems and unresolved matters with the United States, and the US President and I approach many international affairs differently and evaluate our bilateral relations differently. But we still have to be objective. There was a time I saw President Bush refuse to sign the Kyoto agreements. But we still found a solution. I think the same will happen in this case. Well, Trump believes that the Paris Agreement is unprofitable for his country for a variety of reasons. I will not go into details now, he must have talked about this many times, and we know his position.

But I think, we should not antagonise the relationship with the US, because without them it would be impossible to reduce the influence of anthropogenic air pollution on the global climate even a little bit. Therefore, one way or another we need to involve the US in this discussion and this joint work. As I understand, President Trump does not object. He says that he dislikes some provisions of the Paris agreement, but he is not opposed to working with the global community on this matter.

Now, as regards the pollution and the future of the global energy, in order to fight the heat, we need no less energy resources than to fight the cold. Secondly, my colleagues were right, millions of people do not have access to energy resources, and we will never prohibit the use of the contemporary blessings of civilization, it is just unreal. The economy and the industry will keep developing.

Of course, in Russia we also join the best international practices, so-called energy efficient technology that has a little bit of influence on the environment, and we, of course, will continue this.

But I also agree with our Saudi colleague. These alternative sources are very important, but we will not be able to go without hydrocarbons in the next decades. People will have to use them for many decades to come. We mostly speak about oil, but coal is what is used most.

We are speaking about the need to use electric cars, but where will the electricity come from? From the socket? Okay, from the socket, but how did it get there? First we need to burn coal to produce electricity, while gas remains the most environmentally friendly energy resource. So we need to take a comprehensive approach to all such matters.

Ryan Chilcote : Patrick Pouyané posed a challenge to you. He said it would be good if Russia used less coal. Are you prepared to accept that challenge and reduce consumption of coal here in Russia and production?

Vladimir Putin: We have signed the relevant Paris agreements and taken up our responsibilities. We have implemented the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol, and now the Paris Agreement will replace it. We have taken up all necessary responsibilities and will adhere to them. The question is not about reducing the usage of coal for domestic needs, we are not the largest emitter, the US and Asian countries emit much more. Here, we are not the leaders. We sell a lot of coal, but also not more than anyone else and we only help cover the demand. The question is not about us, but about modern technology that uses primary energy resources.

Let us go back to the last question, could you please repeat it?

Ryan Chilcote : Well, the title of the panel is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russia's energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes, or what is the change that gives you the most hope and what do you think the biggest challenge that you see amongst the changes is for energy?

Vladimir Putin : Concern is caused by uncertainty. In politics, in security, and in the economy. Volatility, in other words. This is it. And the number of uncertainties is growing. This is what causes concern – the unpredictability of the situation.

Ryan Chilcote : Are you talking about your colleague, the President of the United States?

Vladimir Putin : Not exactly. He certainly makes a significant contribution to this unpredictability by virtue of being the President of the largest world power, but not only him. I am talking about the situation in general.

Look at the rise of extremism – where did it come from? Why is this problem so acute today? Why is this extremism turning into terrorism? Doesn't that concern us? This is what we need to understand – where it all came from.

I will not go into details because we have a limited amount of time. But this is happening in many spheres. In the economy – the same thing. This growing uncertainty in all fields is what causes concern.

Now, what causes optimism? Common sense, I think. No matter how hard it is, people, humankind have always found ways out of the most difficult situations, guided by the interests of their countries, their peoples, and it is the goal of any government to ensure the well-being as well as the growth of the welfare of its people.

I think that sooner or later, and the sooner the better, the realisation will come that we need to get away from controversy as soon as possible, in any case, away from trying to resolve this controversy with unacceptable tools and ways that go beyond international law. It seems to me that it is necessary to strengthen the leading role of the United Nations, and on this foundation, move on.

Ryan Chilcote : And on that note, please join me in thanking and congratulating our participants in today's panel and, of course, our host today the President of Russia.

Vladimir Putin : Thank you very much.

[Oct 05, 2018] A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics.

Oct 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 5, 2018 6:44:15 PM | link

Per @54--

Thanks for your answer, which is what I'd presumed. The bottom line seems to be that nothing's unhackable--no matter what, it will get hacked.

What follows is OT, but attempts to supply a reason for the propaganda pimple burst. A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics. A few of the choice quotes related to his answers were published, but the transcript portion recording the Q&A had yet to be published in full at the Kremlin's website. The transcript's now complete regarding those Q&As directed at and answered by Putin, and what he has to say on a wide spectrum of issues is highly educational: No one can say they know how Putin feels about a particular issue without having read his answers. A few days ago, I tried linking to the Kremlin's website only to have the post eaten by TypePad's Cloud. Here's the link . Reading his answers and comments might lead Russophobic members of Trump's Swamp to burst a propaganda pimple in revenge for his honesty.

[Oct 02, 2018] The Inevitable Oil Supply Crunch

Notable quotes:
"... "Barring technology breakthrough beyond what we already assume, we'll need new oil discoveries," ..."
"... "We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," ..."
"... "The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio in the current year reached only 11 percent (for oil and gas combined) - compared to over 50 percent in 2012." ..."
"... "The mind set for most E&Ps is still to be conservative, and default is to return capital to shareholders. Yet the duty to shareholders' interests cannot be myopically short term. More of the 'windfall' cash needs to find its way into exploration to sustain the business in the long term," ..."
"... "frontier areas," ..."
"... "Suriname, the Brazilian Equatorial Margin; Mexico; Senegal, Gambia, Namibia and South Africa; Australia and Alaska." ..."
"... "More explorers need to get in on the action if the spectre of 'peak supply' is to be kept at bay," ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | oilprice.com

"The warning signs are there – the industry isn't finding enough oil." That's the start of a new report from Wood Mackenzie. The report concludes that a supply gap could emerge in the mid-2020s as demand rises at a time when too few new sources of supply are coming online.

By 2030, there could be a supply shortfall on the order of 3 million barrels per day (mb/d), WoodMac argues. By 2035, it balloons to 7 mb/d, and by 2040, it reaches 12 mb/d. "Barring technology breakthrough beyond what we already assume, we'll need new oil discoveries," the report says.

The seeds of the problem were sown during the oil market downturn that began in 2014. Global upstream exploration spending plunged from $60 billion in 2014 to just $25 billion in 2018, according to WoodMac. Unsurprisingly, that translated into a steep decline in new discoveries. In the early part of this decade, the oil industry was discovering around 8 billion barrels of oil annually. That figure has plunged by three quarters since 2014.

Read more © Todd Korol US sanctions against Iran could give oil a boost to $100 amid dramatic shortfall in supplies

The precise figures vary, but Rystad Energy came a similar conclusion, noting that the total volume of new oil and gas reserves discovered plunged to a record low in 2017. "We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy, said in a December 2017 statement . "The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio in the current year reached only 11 percent (for oil and gas combined) - compared to over 50 percent in 2012."

This year, the industry has had a bit more success. Spending is on the rebound and new discoveries are on track to rise by about 30 percent, although that is heavily influenced by the developments in Guyana, where ExxonMobil and Hess Corp. have reported nearly a dozen discoveries, and hope to ramp up production to around 750,000 bpd by 2025.

It still may not be enough. Even if the industry were to somehow return to the good ol' days prior to the 2014 market crash, and begin discovering around 8 billion barrels of oil each year, it would only delay the supply crunch into the 2030s, according to WoodMac.

But, of course, that rate of discovery remains far below those levels, so the supply crunch may take place much sooner. Moreover, because large-scale projects take several years to develop, the activity taking place today will determine the supply mix in the mid- to late-2020s.

WoodMac says that the rate of discovery is highly correlated with the level of spending, so closing the supply gap will require more capital. And because of the run up in oil prices this year, the industry will have a lot more cash to throw around.

Read more © Nick Oxford Oil surges to 4-year high as investors see no sign of production rise amid Iran sanctions

The problem for the industry is that over the last few years the mindset, and the demands of shareholders, have shifted from production growth to profitability and investor returns. Shareholders are pressuring executives to return cash in the form of dividends and share buybacks. Energy stocks are not the darlings of Wall Street in the way they once were, particularly prior to the 2014 market meltdown. That puts extra pressure on oil and gas companies to dish out more of their earnings to investors rather than plowing it back into the ground.

But that means less spending on exploration. "The mind set for most E&Ps is still to be conservative, and default is to return capital to shareholders. Yet the duty to shareholders' interests cannot be myopically short term. More of the 'windfall' cash needs to find its way into exploration to sustain the business in the long term," WoodMac said in its report.

Shale output will continue to grow, especially after new pipelines come online in Texas, which will ease the current bottleneck. But the large-scale increases in production in the medium-term will come from "frontier areas," WoodMac says, as the string of discoveries in Guyana prove. WoodMac says the areas with the highest potential include "Suriname, the Brazilian Equatorial Margin; Mexico; Senegal, Gambia, Namibia and South Africa; Australia and Alaska."

For now, the level of activity is not enough to stave off the supply crunch, WoodMac warns, unless there is a dramatic increase in spending. "More explorers need to get in on the action if the spectre of 'peak supply' is to be kept at bay," the consultancy says.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Sep 29, 2018] US forced to evacuate consulate in Iraq

Sep 29, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

span y gjohnsit on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:16pm Last week the Trump Administration ranted against OPEC because the Iranian sanctions are driving up oil prices .
That's called blowback.
Today we see the next level of blowback.

The State Department says the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra is being evacuated following attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will provide full consular services for Basra and the surrounding area, the State Department said.

What's most notable is the reaction by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo directly threatened retaliation against Iran on Friday, after accusing Iranian forces of repeatedly directing attacks against US diplomatic facilities in Iraq.

"Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks," Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.

Recently, #Iran -supported militias in Iraq launched rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra. We'll hold #Iran 's regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives. pic.twitter.com/nqbmogbeCA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 25, 2018

What is happening in Iraq could lead directly to a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.
The Pentagon says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed". There are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, versus about 100,000 Shia militiamen.

Pompeo is working with Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran coalition known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
As recently as April, the U.S. was telling those Shia militias were welcome in Iraq.
Last month those Shia militias threatened to attack foreign troops in Iraq if they didn't leave.

span y Amanda Matthews on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:59pm
The irony! It burnzzzzz

" Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

span y jim p on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 10:55pm
Paging Mr Orwell...

"Iran-backed militias." That would be Iraqis, no? Is the ultimate plan then to, um, eliminate Iraq's Shia? I expect to hear, soon, that Iraqi Shia test their chemical weapons on children.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 11:24pm
Hypocrisy at its finest
The UN Charter calls for nations to "live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

Why the leaders of the rest of the world didn't walk out on Trump when he threatened other countries is beyond my comprehension. How much longer will they waste their citizen's lives and their money just because we told them to jump?

Remember when Obama said that "no country should have to tolerate bombs dropping on them from outside their borders?

[Sep 29, 2018] EU, UK, Russia, China Join Together To Dodge US Sanctions On Iran

I think those measure have implicit blessing from Washington, which realized how dangerous withdrawal of Iraq oil from the market can be for the USA economy
Sep 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York is a place where world leaders are able to hold important meetings behind closed doors. Russia, China, the UK, Germany, France, and the EU seized that opportunity on Sept. 24 to achieve a real milestone.

The EU, Russia, China, and Iran will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a "financially independent sovereign channel," to bypass US sanctions against Tehran and breathe life into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , which is in jeopardy. "Mindful of the urgency and the need for tangible results, the participants welcomed practical proposals to maintain and develop payment channels, notably the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports, including oil," they announced in a joint statement. The countries are still working out the technical details. If their plan succeeds, this will deliver a blow to the dollar and a boost to the euro.

The move is being made in order to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. According to Federica Mogherini , High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the SPV will facilitate payments for Iran's exports, such as oil, and imports so that companies can do business with Tehran as usual. The vehicle will be available not just to EU firms but to others as well. A round of US sanctions aimed at ending Iranian oil exports is to take effect on November 5. Iran is the world's seventh-largest oil producer. Its oil sector accounts for 70% of the country's exports. Tehran has warned the EU that it should find new ways of trading with Iran prior to that date, in order to preserve the JCPOA.

The SPV proposes to set up a multinational, European, state-backed financial intermediary to work with companies interested in trading with Iran. Payments will be made in currencies other than the dollar and remain outside the reach of those global money-transfer systems under US control. In August, the EU passed a blocking statute to guarantee the immunity of European companies from American punitive measures. It empowers EU firms to seek compensation from the United States Treasury for its attempts to impose extra-territorial sanctions. No doubt the move will further damage the already strained US-EU relationship. It might be helpful to create a special EU company for oil exports from Iran.

Just hours after the joint statement on the SPV, US President Trump defended his unilateral action against Iran in his UNGA address . US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the EU initiative , stating:

"This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional global peace and security."

To wit, the EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. "We have far more bullets," the president said before the Chinese official's planned visit. "We're going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more." The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran's oil.

It is true, the plan to skirt the sanctions might fall short of expectations. It could fail as US pressure mounts. A number of economic giants, including Total, Peugeot, Allianz, Renault, Siemens, Daimler, Volvo, and Vitol Group have already left Iran as its economy plummets, with the rial losing two-thirds of its value since the first American sanctions took effect in May. The Iranian currency dropped to a record low against the US dollar this September.

What really matters is the fact that the leading nations of the EU have joined the global heavyweights -- Russia and China -- in open defiance of the United States.

This is a milestone event.

It's hard to underestimate its importance. Certainly, it's too early to say that the UK and other EU member states are doing a sharp pivot toward the countries that oppose the US globally, but this is a start - a first step down that path. This would all have seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago - the West and the East in the same boat, trying to stand up to the American bully!

[Sep 28, 2018] Art Berman Don't Believe The Hype - Oil Prices Aren't Going Back To $100

Sep 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The breakout in Brent crude prices above $80 this week has prompted analysts at the sell side banks to start talking about a return to $100 a barrel oil . Even President Trump has gotten involved, demanding that OPEC ramp up production to send oil prices lower before they start to weigh on US consumer spending, which has helped fuel the economic boom over which Trump has presided, and for which he has been eager to take credit.

But to hear respected petroleum geologist and oil analyst Art Berman tell it, Trump should relax. That's because supply fundamentals in the US market suggest that the recent breakout in prices will be largely ephemeral, and that crude supplies will soon move back into a surplus.

Indeed, a close anaysis of supply trends suggests that the secular deflationary trend in oil prices remains very much intact. And in an interview with MacroVoices , Berman laid out his argument using a handy chart deck to illustrate his findings (some of these charts are excerpted below).

As the bedrock for his argument, Berman uses a metric that he calls comparative petroleum inventories. Instead of just looking at EIA inventory data, Berman adjusts these figures by comparing them to the five year average for any given week. This smooths out purely seasonal changes.

And as he shows in the following chart, changes in comparative inventory levels have precipitated most of the shifts in oil prices since the early 1990s, Berman explains. As the charts below illustrate, once reported inventories for US crude oil and refined petroleum products crosses into a deficit relative to comparative inventories, the price of WTI climbs; when they cross into a surplus, WTI falls.

Looking back to March of this year, when the rally in WTI started to accelerate, we can on the left-hand chart above how inventories crossed below their historical average, which Berman claims prompted the most recent run up in prices.

Comparative inventories typically correlate negatively to the price of WTI. But occasionally, perceptions of supply security may prompt producers to either ramp up - or cut back - production. One example of this preceded the ramp of prices that started in 2010 when markets drove prices higher despite supplies being above their historical average. The ramp continued, even as supplies increased, largely due to fears about stagnant global growth in the early recovery period following the financial crisis.

The most rally that started around July 2017 correlated with a period of flat production between early 2016 and early 2018.

Meanwhile, speculators have been unwinding their long positions. Between mid-June 2017 and January 2018, net long positions increased +615 mmb for WTI crude + products, and +776 for WTI and Brent combined. Since then, combined Brent and WTI net longs have fallen -335 mmb, while WTI crude + refined product net long positions have fallen -225 mmb since January 2018 and -104 mmb since the week ending July 10. This shows that, despite high frequency price fluctuation, the overall trend in positioning is down.

And as longs have been unwinding, data show that the US export party has been slowing, as distillate exports, which have been the cash cow driving US refined product exports, have declined. Though they remain strong relative to the 5-year average, they have fallen relative to last year. This has accompanied refinery expansions in Mexico and Brazil.

Meanwhile, distillate and gasoline inventories have been building.

Meanwhile, US exports of crude have remained below the 2018 average in recent weeks, even as prices have continued to climb.

This could reflect supply fears in the global markets. The blowout in WTI-Brent spreads would seem to confirm this. However, foreign refineries recognize that there are limitations when it comes to processing US crude (hence the slumping demand for exports).

In recent weeks, markets have been sensitive to supply concerns thanks to falling production in Venezuela and worries about what will happen with Iranian crude exports after US sanctions kick in in November.

But supply forecasts for the US are telling a different story than supply forecasts for OPEC. In the US, markets will likely remain in equilibrium for the rest of the year, until a state of oversupply returns in 2019. But OPEC production will likely continue to constrict, returning to a deficit in 2019.

Bottom line: According to Berman, the trend of secular deflation in oil prices remains very much intact. While Berman expects prices to remain rangebound for the duration of 2018 - at least in the US - it's likely markets will turn to a supply surplus next year, sending prices lower once again.

Listen to the full interview below

[Sep 21, 2018] A Container Ship Is Sailing Through Russia's Arctic Passage for the First Time

Sep 21, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Another landmark for the "Northeastern passage" -- so far only tankers had made the trip Brendon Petersen 16 hours ago | 1,546 5 Explorers and navigators have long searched for a way to move ships through the Arctic Circle as find a faster way to move goods between the Atlantic and the Pacific without having to go around either Asia or South America. Groups of people hunted for the fabled Northwest passage through North America for decades. The problem, of course, is that the Arctic contains too much ice.

Over the past few years, however, ice levels in the Arctic have been hitting record lows thanks to climate change, and while its effects are almost universally negative, one benefit is opened northern sea routes. Over the past month, a container ship sailing from Eastern Russia is pioneering a new Arctic route by being the first such ship to cross the Arctic Ocean .

On August 23, the container ship Venta Maersk left the Russian port of Vladivostok and headed to Bremerhaven in Germany. Normally, a trip like that would take the Venta Maersk through the Suez Canal on a 34 day trip. Instead, the ship will sail through the sea north of Russia on a route that will only take 23 days.

Last week, the Venta Maersk passed through the Sannikov Strait, the narrowest and most hazardous part of its journey, and is expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the week. Once it arrives, it will become the first container ship to complete a successful route through the Arctic Circle.

[Sep 21, 2018] Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up analyst to RT -- RT US News

Notable quotes:
"... "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" ..."
"... "they stop it," ..."
"... "protecting those countries." ..."
"... "The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," ..."
"... "When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," ..."
"... "He is whipping up his domestic base," ..."
"... "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US." ..."
"... "another factual misrepresentation," ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.rt.com

Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT Published time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:03 Edited time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:28 Get short URL Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT FILE PHOTO. © Lucy Nicholson / Reuters The tax and trade policies of Donald Trump are, in fact, what have contributed to the surge in oil prices, a US economics professor told RT, adding that the US President's tough words to OPEC are a political stunt. On Thursday, Trump accused OPEC's Middle East producers of "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" and demanded "they stop it," adding that the US is "protecting those countries." Oil prices showed a mixed reaction to Trump's words. The Brent benchmark fell 43 cents to $78.97 per barrel, while the US Texas Intermediate grew by 9 cents to $71.21.

We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018

OPEC does, in fact, control oil supply to a significant extent but that does not necessarily mean that it is also in full control of the oil prices, Jack Rasmus, a professor of Political Economy at St. Mary's College of California, told RT, adding that the policies pursued by the US president himself play a much bigger role in what happens to oil and gasoline prices in the US.

Read more © Nick Oxford Trump demands OPEC lower oil prices, claims US 'protects' Middle East countries

"The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," Rasmus explained, adding that the rising inflation is one of the primary factors contributing to the oil price surge. Apart from that, Trump's trade war with China and even with the US allies in the West also drives up the prices, as businesses also have to raise them to adapt to the tariffs that both the US and its trading partners have imposed recently.

Trump's sanctions war on Iran also does not make the situation any better. The US sanctions, which are aimed at bringing Iran's oil exports to "zero," led to a decrease in Iran's oil sales, thus cutting the supply and driving the prices up. As if it was not enough, Trump's rhetoric only adds fuel to the fire, according to Rasmus.

"When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," he told RT, adding that it is the "global speculators that are driving the short-term oil prices." "There is a connection between the speculators and Trump policies. When he makes those statements, it certainly does contribute to the oil prices rise," the analyst explained.

This rhetoric was more about winning voters' support ahead of the November mid-term elections than about really remedying the situation in the oil market, Rasmus says. "He is whipping up his domestic base," the analyst said, adding that "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US."

#US will find it difficult to cut #Iran 's oil exports completely as the oil market is already tight - Tehran https://t.co/T1oiFmGvOq pic.twitter.com/uaJO0Qn8gt

-- RT (@RT_com) September 15, 2018

Trump got elected on a platform of economic nationalism in particular, Rasmus said, adding that the president now sticks to that narrative and blames foreigners –be they immigrants or some foreign competitors– for the US' woes. However, this is "another factual misrepresentation," the analyst said.

As oil prices remain high, prices for gasoline in the US are growing. The average cost of gasoline has risen 60 percent from $1.87 per gallon in February 2016 to over $3 in September.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

[Sep 20, 2018] This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas).

Sep 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Sep 19, 2018 9:05:12 PM | link

Alastair Crooke's latest at Strategic Culture.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/18/two-major-middle-east-projects-afoot-gaining-mass-they-may-collide-before-long.html
....But a turnaround in Iraq also puts a spike into the balloon of President Trump's aspiration to reassert US energy dominance over the Mideast. Iran – it was hoped – would ultimately capitulate and fall to economic and political pressures, and as the Iranian domino capsized, it would take with it, crashing down into political acquiescence, the Iraqi domino.

This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas). On the face of this week's events however, it looks more likely that these resources - or at least, the greater energy resources of Iran and Iraq - will end up in the Russian sphere (together with Syria's unexplored Levant Basin prospects). And this Russian 'heartland', energy-producing sphere, may, in the end, prove to be a more than substantive rival to US (newly emerged as 'the world's top oil producer') aspirations for restoring its Mideast energy dominance.....

The piece covers both Trump's plans for global energy dominance by taking full control of middle east oil and also the Trump Kushner moves against the Palestinians.

[Sep 19, 2018] So it seems in 2014, for a well run shale oil company, $93/b worked just fine

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 8:27 am

Hi Mike,

Perhaps the Eagle Ford will never be profitable, it will depend on the price of oil and many other factors.

I guess I have a little more faith in the oil industry than you.

EOG has produced a fair amount of oil in the Eagle Ford and their net income in 2014 (when oil prices were high) was $2.9 billion, about 178 kb/d of C+C was produced from Eagle Ford in 2014 (about 65 million barrels) by EOG (about 62% of total 2014 EOG C+C output). The average price for C+C in the US received by EOG was about $93/b in 2014.

So it seems in 2014, for a well run oil company, $93/b worked just fine. Over the period from 2010 to 2014 EOG's net income was about $6 billion. From 2010 to 2017, the total net income was about $2.6 billion (not adjusted for inflation) as 2015 and 2016 were bad years with 5 billion losses in net income.

Debt to assets at the end of 2017 was about 21% with debt at $6.4 billion and assets at $29.8 billion. In 2017 Eagle Ford output was about 47% of EOG's C+C output, the average oil price EOG received in the US was $50.91/b in 2017, about $600 million of long term debt was paid off in 2017 with no new long term debt issued, but net cash flow was negative $766 million.

A discounted cash flow at a 10% annual discount rate results in a breakeven oil price (10% annual ROI) of $90.3/b for the average 2016 Eagle Ford well, if we assume a well cost of 9 million. Note that this is a "real" discount rate as I do costs in real inflation adjusted dollars, so it is equivalent to a nominal discount rate of 12.5% so would be equivalent to a nominal annual ROI of 12.5%.

EUR is 238 kb over 13.8 years and the well is shut in at 10 b/d. An assumption of 15 b/d shut in reduces EUR to 220 kb and well life to 9.75 years, and breakeven oil price rises to $91/b, an increase of 70 cents per barrel. Well payout is in 46 months at $91/b.

What is the full cost of the average Eagle Ford well?

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 3:23 pm
Note that I have assumed zero revenue from natural gas or NGL in my breakeven analysis and am considering C+C output only, not sure if there are natural gas pipeline bottlenecks in the EFS as there seems to be in the Permian basin. In any case, the economics might be slightly better when natural gas is included.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 7:07 am
Shallow Sand,

There wasn't significant drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale until 2011. How many of the 700 inactive wells started producing in 2009 and 2010? By Enno Peters data using Eagle Ford and unknown wells in Karnes County from Jan 2011 to Dec 2016, I get 2487 horizontal wells completed in total over that period. Note that the productivity rate distribution at Enno's site gives some funky numbers at the low end, so they should probably be ignored. "Zero" output after 24 months should probably be less than 15 b/d after 24 months. For Eagle Ford 2014 wells, supposedly there are 1747 wells with zero production rate after 24 months out of 3962 total wells, this is just a programming error. That is, zero does not mean zero in this case, would be my guess.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:29 pm
I checked with Enno Peters on this and the lowest column means output at 24 months is 0 to 50 b/d, same is true for each column it is from the previous to the next label so 0-50, 50-100, etc.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:50 pm
Shallow sand,

You said:

Could over 20% of the horizontal wells in Karnes Co., TX already be shut in for over one year? These wells first produced 1/1/2019 to 12/31/2016, so they are not old wells at all? Less than 10 year economic life?

No the wells have not been shut in as you think, for 2009 to 2016 wells in Karnes county and Eagle Ford Formation I get 763 wells with "zero" production rate at Enno's site. He has pointed out that this is really 0 to 50 bopd for those 763 wells out of a total of 2425 wells producing that started production from 2009 to 2016. The average production rate was 86 bopd for all of the Karnes county Eagle Ford formation wells.

For all counties there were 15,600 wells with 7754 wells with output at 0 to 50 bopd at 24 months. Average for all counties is 63 bopd at 24 months. At 12 months the average rate was 127 bopd for all counties with about 25% of the wells at 0 to 50 bopd at 12 months.

[Sep 19, 2018] I think there are considerable shut ins that will eventually reduce the magnificent increases that are currently being reported

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym says: 09/14/2018 at 7:22 am

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL1N1TM1VJ

Older article, but more important, now. EIA, and most of the Rystad type companies are continuing to report significant increases in the Permian. Latest monthlies are from June, all else is estimated, including drilling info. Completions are happening, and the new wells included in drilling info are, no doubt, true as to production. Who measures shut ins until final numbers are accumulated? Who spends significant time communicating with the small producer? Heck, they make up half the wells drilled in the Permian. I think there are considerable shut ins that will eventually reduce the magnificent increases that are currently being reported.

shallow sand x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 3:25 pm
Guym

You seem to be pretty in tune with the EFS.

I ran a quick search on horizontal wells in Karnes Co., TX.

I found 2,778 active horizontal wells with first production from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2016,

In the most recent month, here are the numbers:

170 wells produced 3,001+ BO
1,034 wells produced 1,001-3,000 BO
872 wells produced 501-1,000 BO
702 wells produced 1-500 BO

Could that be correct?

Furthermore, there appear to be over 700 inactive wells, which are defined as wells that have no recorded oil or gas production in the last 12 months.

Could over 20% of the horizontal wells in Karnes Co., TX already be shut in for over one year? These wells first produced 1/1/2019 to 12/31/2016, so they are not old wells at all? Less than 10 year economic life?

I know Mike has commented on how bad the EFS really is economically. It seems the hyper focus is now on the PB. However, EFS produces significant volumes of oil. Looks like this one could really collapse once the last locations are completed.

I saw many, many wells with cumulative production of 250K oil, that are now producing under 500 BO per month.

I ran the same search on De Witt Co., TX. Less wells, but similar results. Interesting to see all the wells in both counties that have maybe paid out, but are now producing less than 500 BO per month.

GuyM x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 4:22 pm
Even Karnes County has it's less than tier one oil areas, and a lot of the wells were not up to par in the beginning. The well has to pay out capex in the first year, or its not worth drilling. Profit in year two and three, and not much after that. Period. End of story. I don't see much better out of the Permian, and may be getting worse. Yes, on the whole, less than a ten year economic life. Gets a lot worse in tier two stuff, and tier three stuff is, at these prices, a definite loss. But they are still drilling in tier three areas, go figure. My lease area is producing around 250k to 300k total, and it is barely touched, because EOG wants 300k. Yeah, when the tier one areas play out, costs to maintain will be prohibitive. Increase? Just a dream.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:40 pm
Efs works at higher prices for average well. Probably needs 85 per barrel for well to payout in 60 months, maybe 90 per barrel for 36 month payout.
Guym x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:47 am
Look at EOG's economics of which wells are "premium" locations. There are not many left, and EOG probably owns the lion's share. It has to produce 200k barrels the first year. They priced that at $40 oil price, but it makes no difference, because it doesn't change the number of locations that can generate 200k barrels. They are justifying production to a 5200 ft lateral. Some make significantly more, some less. I have that memorized, as my wells have proven from the 125k to 175k the first year. Probably, a 250k to 300k EUR. So, I have to wait. They will be venturing into my area sometime before their "premium" locations are depleted. Beginning of the year, that count was at 2300. About 10 years at their current drilling rate, and less if they pick up activity. These are developmental wells, the Permian is still largely exploratory.

As far as holdings go, EOG is the cream of the crop. So, you can't make averages based on one company. Most look far, far worse. Their financial info was shit before, as were all the rest. Setting a bar for where to drill, will, in all likelihood, make them much better. There are a large number of smaller companies who still complete wells in tier three acreage. It's amazing, they know what they will get. I see initial production at 500 barrels a day, or less, and I know that someone is losing money.

But a big overview gives:
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/47629/wells-monitored-0818.pdf

From completions of close to 15k oil wells in 2017 and 2018.

http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/43382/ogdc1217.pdf

http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/47577/ogdc0818.pdf

Now, do the math. There is not 10 years, or in most cases even five years of economically recoverable oil from shale. A 60 month payback???? At the highest bracket, it includes wells with about 3000 barrels a month. And there are only about 10k of those. Less than 3 years of completions. And if you look at the total number of producing wells it is slightly less now than in 2014. So, what happened to them??! To make it clearer, the number of wells that has become inactive is pretty close to the number of wells that has been drilled in four years. Yeah, production is up, because the wells producing over 3000 a month is up. But applying a ten year, or even five year economic life to them is pretty stupid. But, I don't have to look at total numbers to get to that conclusion, I look at individual wells, or groups of wells in a lease. It's a lot steeper treadmill than the hoopla indicates. Here's the count from Dec 2014. Shale wells will probably not drop down into the last category, so just look at the first two to compare them to current. If they do drop into the last category, the production doesn't mean much to the cost of the well, or profitability. About four thousand more, and tens of thousands of new wells since then.
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/26405/welldistribution1214.pdf

So, think about this when your looking at Eno's data, averages are deceiving. Whether they are tier one, two, or three makes a huge difference.

shallow sand x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 12:12 pm
What are the operators doing with all of these inactive wells?

Are they able to keep them shut in or do they have to produce or plug within a certain amount of time.

The financial liability for all of these wells is huge.

700 wells x $250K per well to P&A? In just Karnes Co.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 1:19 pm
The links to the report show plugging activity. Substantial. In August EF had 120 oil completions, and 50 something oil wells plugged. Completions were higher in August. Dec 2017, oil wells completed and plugged were almost equal. That is not an exact description of EF horizontals, but that is the main thing going in these districts. $250 sounds low, I think.
shallow sand x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 7:08 pm
I was assuming $250K net of salvage.

I assume given all the activity in PB, a lot of those 640's, etc, might be traveling from EF to PB.

Maybe those guys P & A this stuff are making the real money?

Mike x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:25 am
Shallow, FTR, last thread: my current est. economic limits of 15-18 BOPD for LTO wells will be much higher for major integrated companies, yes. The everything is peachy 'assumption' is that smaller companies will buy those wells and carry on. I do not believe that. A 6-10% decline in total UR because of premature economic limits IS a big deal. It makes or breaks thousands of wells.

The liquids rich gas leg of DeWitt and Karnes Counties IMO will see <35% of its wells be 'significantly' profitable, for instance above 150 ROI. Your data you are showing is a big deal that seems to be going plum over peoples heads. Sorry. Time will show that the Eagle Ford was, is the biggest financial toilet of all three shale basins; the economics are indeed awful. I operate conventional production IN the EF trend and have interest in wells. Folks don't realize how many $10-12MM dollar wells were drilled from 2009-2013. Jeff Brown and I guessed eight years ago only 35-40% of shale oil wells in the EF will even pay back D&C&A costs. I think that is way too high now.

Whatever the definition of "works," means, Dennis, for the EF; newer well designs are leading to much higher IP180-360, but not higher UR. It does not look that way to me. Now new wells in the EF must carry the burden of the highest level of legacy debt in the LTO industry. To maintain and actually pay that debt back will take much higher oil prices than you think as the play is now pretty much exhausted. At current oil prices it takes 325-350K BO to pay new wells with longer laterals and much bigger frac's out.

The LTO industry is not in business so people can speculate about how much oil it is going to make, or the jobs it provides, or how much cheaper gasoline it can provide for consumers
https://www.oilystuffblog.com/single-post/2018/09/12/Cartoon-Of-the-Week ; its in business to MAKE money. 150 ROI's is not making sufficient money to be self sustainable and be able to kick the credit/debt addiction.

Longhorn is correct, Matador did indeed pay $95K an acre for PMNM acreage. I suggest we bow our heads and honor its shareholders with a moment of silence and a little prayer to the Goddess of Wolfcamp in order that she be merciful. Another bench Matador is touting to justify its "wisdom" is the (De) Cline shale interval. Phftttttt.

shallow sand x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 7:59 am
The irony is that the majors and large independents divested of many assets in the US lower 48 in the 1990s because they were perceived as high cost with little economic future.

However, folks like us are still producing that stuff profitably.

OTOH the same companies are now spending large sums on shale, which is economically inferior to what they divested 20-30 years ago.

Lightsout x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 1:29 pm
Since when did big oil ever have a plan?

[Sep 19, 2018] Shale boom was cash flow negative oil production boom

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

MudGod, 09/12/2018 at 11:52 am

I remember Matthew Simmons saying that when Saudi peaks, the world peaks.
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/12/2018 at 2:21 pm
Mr.Simmons likely never considered the productive wonders of a cash flow negative oil boom aka USA LTO sarc/

I wonder how many more cash flow negative oil booms the world can endure, and how long USA LTO will last. While we're at it, I wonder how the pension funds invested in USA LTO are gonna do for their members once the rats under the floorboards get flushed out.

Buckle your chin strap. Within a few to several years we'll perhaps know better how this is gonna shake out. George Kaplan and Dennis Coyne had some future production charts in the comments of last post. By my rough eyeball and memory, I think George Kaplan had future production down to about 40 million barrels a day by 2050 (see link below). Dennis, ever the optimist ;), had us down to about 50 million barrels a day by 2050 (see Mr. Coynes comments in response to George). Either way, those alive in 2050 are gonna be living in a very different world!

http://peakoilbarrel.com/eias-latest-usa-world-oil-production-data/#comment-651548

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/12/2018 at 3:29 pm
Survivalist,

A lot depends on how much oil can be extracted. George Kaplan's scenario looks to be roughly a URR of 2400 Gb if the 2020 to 2063 trend continues in future years (it is roughly straight line decline over that period so I just extended the line to zero and estimated URR. It is more likely, in my view that URR will be about 3060 Gb (including 260 Gb of extra heavy and LTO oil), that's about midway between a pessimistic HL scenario(2600 GB) and optimistic USGS scenario (3000 Gb) for conventional oil.

Also higher rates of extraction could keep production a bit higher maybe 64 Mb/d in 2050, it will depend on the length of Great Depression 2 in 2030. Of course I think that might only last 4-5 years, being an optimist. 🙂

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 1:10 am
I haven't worked it out but I'd guess the ultimate recovery is more than your estimate. First, as I said before, the XH production is based on long cycle projects, so it would have a fat tail extending beyond when most of the conventional oil is exhausted (there are a few reasons for that but one is that it needs upgraders and those are not built with excess capacity). Second, as I said twice before, Laherrere has about 180 Gb of "rest of the world" reserves that I didn't include as I don't know what they represent – if they are undiscovered oil then at current rates it will take about 40 years to find them, or if the recent trend for declining discoveries holds then forever.
And that is the last I am going to write – or read – on that Laherrere paper. It was just a comment on a blog, not an article in Nature or the Times or even a letter to either of those, or even a letter to the local free advertising paper. I wrote it most for my own interest, writing things out help clarify ideas, but I rarely do more than a cursory proofread. Most people who bothered to look at it would have read a couple of sentences and skimmed the rest, a very few might have got more out of it. It didn't change anything fundamental. If somebody was going to write another comment they wrote exactly what they were going to write anyway.
George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 1:11 am
Survivalist

It won't take to 2050 to see a different world. Just a small fall in supply has effects well out of proportion to the nominal cash value of the oil lost. Cheap flights would disappear, trade would plummet, GDPs shrink – the books have to balance one way or another (see recent paper on impact on trade, I think by Barclays, and works by Hall and Kummel). The biggest impact might be food prices, they could easily double and more short term, then the few billion who spend half their income on food suddenly have to spend it all. Turmoil would ensue and likely knock more oil supply off line. There was a paper about Sweden I think – from memory (don't quote me) a rapid fall by a quarter of the oil available leads to collapse and by a half to complete loss of civilization.

At the same time the declining cheap and efficient energy would hamper efforts to address the other big ticket, long term issues: rising population, evolutionary inevitable aspirations – "poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything" (of course); declining levels in some of the big aquifers (a few are getting to the point where the basic pump designs don't work, the replacements needed are much more expensive and much more energy intensive); declining soil loss (at current rate all the soil on sloped arable land will be gone in 50 years – that's a third – and most of the rest in another 50); and of course climate change related extreme weather. This year we've had record heat waves, wild fires, typhoons and (soon) hurricanes plus droughts etc. Soon those will be weekly events (we're not far off now) but on top of that we will be having two or three extreme extreme-weather events per year. More and more of the oil will be going simply to triage on these (but the patient will get worse anyway). At some point countries will cease to be liberal democracies, the USA seems to be leading the way there, and say what you like about liberal democracies they have never declared war on each other, dictatorships on the other hand

People will say oh we just need to do this, that or the other – but there is no "just" about any of it, and especially as oil disappears: ignoring the externalities there is absolutely no better real energy source imaginable by some way, especially the cheap stuff we used to have.

You of course know all this and are preparing much better than me, I do not much more than appease my conscience by not flying and hardly ever riding in a car, but I think I'm getting to the "acceptance" stage and pretty much missed out on depression (no physical symptoms anyway).
[end of rant].

Lightsout x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 1:18 pm
If I remember correctly someone once asked Matt Simmons how best to prepare for peak oil. His response was "be over 50".
Hickory x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 3:38 pm
And that was , what, about 15 yrs ago? So make it 65 now.
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 5:56 pm
I tend to agree with you George. Only a small decrease a short time after peak, and the realization that it's not going back up, will likely open a lot of people's eyes to the fact that almost every stock and equity is overvalued (come to understand that anticipated future growth will not be realized). I plan to hunker down and catch up on my reading while the dust settles, and I'm thinking there'll be a lot of dust. I'll send you a map. Password is 'I think I'm with the band'.

I find this to be also an interesting take on the future of oil

Fracking (Tight Oil) delays Peak Oil by some years
https://aleklett.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/fracking-tight-oil-forskjuter-peak-oil-med-nagra-ar/

[Sep 19, 2018] There is no spare capacity from Iran

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:44 pm

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Iran-There-Is-No-Spare-Oil-Capacity.html

There is no spare capacity from Iran.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:07 pm
So what does Trump do before the midterms? Live with higher prices? Quietly drop the sanctions ? Find a way to get Iranian oil on the market while pretending there are sanctions? Accept the high prices and blame Obama?
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 9:03 pm
Well, he is not the brightest porch light on the block -- -
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 11:04 pm
I had read a couple months ago that Trump was nattering about tapping the SPR around the time of the mid terms.
Guym x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 4:49 pm
Oil price can rise some, now. It's only a month and a half to go. Gasoline stocks are high, so it will take some trickle down time. Raiding the SPR is overkill.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:39 am
Boomer,

Trump will blame Saudis for not increasing output, Saudis will then raise output in Sept to tamp prices down before midterms.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:30 am
I'm betting they don't. Saudi production in September is more likely to be down than up. But if it is up it will only by a tiny amount, not near enough to affect prices. Saudi Arabis is just not interested in increasing production by any significant amount. They would like to keep production steady .if possible.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:00 pm
Ron,

You may be right, but Trump may try to get Saudis to raise output and he may slow down aggressive action on Iranian sanctions until after midterms.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:25 pm
Seems Iran always has the trump cards.
Now if they could just get rid of religious oppression, and have a better functioning government–
Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 2:19 pm
Trump already tried that. Here is his tweet.

Trump asks Saudi Arabia to increase oil production

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference Prices to high! He has agreed!" the tweet read.

And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit." The Saudis, just like Trump's staff, know he is an idiot.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:54 am
"And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit."

I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm. My guess is that Trump has turned up the heat on Iran because of requests from KSA & Israel.

The USA has been helping MbS with is Yemen war, as well as proxy war in Syria. If KSA want the US to economically crush Iran, than KSA will need to help but increasing its Oil exports. Perhaps KSA as some oil stashed in storage that it could release for a short period. My guess KSA would delay using its storage reserves until there is a price spike that might force the US to back off on Iran.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 3:54 am
I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm.

You doubt what happened? The quote was a tweet directly from the President. He sent it out to the world, you don't need an inside contact to the White House. Trump's tweets go out to the public.

Yes, it did happen. Of course, the part about what the King did afterward was just speculation on my part. But he did not increase oil production as Trump requested. That much we do know.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 2:54 pm
Hi Ron,

Not arguing the tweet Trumpet made, but your reasoning that the MbS will ignore the request.

I am reasonably sure MbS wants the USA to go after Iran, and thus has a motive to try to comply with Trumpet's request for more Oil. That said, I very much doubt KSA can increase production, but they may have 50 to 150 mmbl in storage they could release if Oil prices spike.

FYI:
"Why The U.S. Is Suddenly Buying A Lot More Saudi Oil"

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Why-The-US-Is-Suddenly-Buying-A-Lot-More-Saudi-Oil.html

" the Saudis are responding to the demands of their staunch ally U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed OPEC for the high gasoline prices, urging the cartel in early July to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!""

"Saudi Arabia Boosts Oil Supply To Asia As Iran Sanctions Return"
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Saudi-Arabia-Boosts-Oil-Supply-To-Asia-As-Iran-Sanctions-Return.html

"Saudi Arabia cut last week its official selling price (OSP) for its flagship Arab Light grade for October to Asia by US$0.10 a barrel to US$1.10 a barrel premium to the Dubai/Oman average"

So it appears that KSA is trying to comply with Trumpet's request. At least by trying to lower the oil prices via selling their oil at a discount.

** Note: Not trying to be a PITA, just providing an alternative viewpoint. I do value what you post. Hope you understand.

[Sep 19, 2018] A very slow decline of world supply will hit those who can't pay for it most and maybe wake up enough through higher prices to begin planning for what will be the greatest energy transition that must take place!

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Captjohn x Ignored says: 09/12/2018 at 1:50 pm

Here is someone that does have a clue – CEO of Schlumberger:

http://www.northamericanshalemagazine.com/articles/2497/schlumberger-ceo-can-u-s-shale-meet-future-global-oil-demand

"The short-term investment focus adopted since 2014 offers a finite set of opportunities over a limited period of time, and this period is now clearly coming to an end as seen by accelerating decline rates in many countries around the world," Kibsgaard pointed out.

BAU won't get it done – no quick fixes, 'new shale revolution' or 'reserve production' to get us through – my interest is mostly how we (as a society and culture) will react as constraints on the resource 'haves' and 'have nots' set in.

Went through Irma in South Florida last Fall – and in general order was maintained – but really only out of Gas for about 3 days – and was more of a shock type shortage. A very slow decline of world supply will hit those who can't pay for it most – and maybe wake up enough through higher prices to begin planning for what will be the greatest energy transition that must take place!

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:52 am
The big oil companies are selling a story of long term stability to their investors, partly so they can justify the long term investments needed for the mega-projects where they get most of their oil and cashflow (some of those see no net return for many years). They only need to sell themselves to their investors, not their customers who just buy the cheapest or most convenient, be it crude to refineries or petrol to motorists.

The service companies live more year to year – they get hired to help develop and drill a field and then their workload drops a lot except for some well servicing during operation. Schlumberger is selling itself to its customers (the 'operators' who are the E&P companies) and investors as the go to guy for the next couple of years as activity tries to pick up but faces increasing issues as the easy (and now not so easy but still OK-ish) oil goes away.

Mike Sutherland x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 10:22 am
Schlumberger is not a typical service provider to the producers, although that is a large portion of their business. Since their purchase of Cameron International and other oilfield manufacturing companies, they have been providing facility engineering and fabrication services to the oil producers worldwide.

In point of fact, Schlumberger does have the information that the producers have, and then some. They use those numbers as a basis for facility engineering, and as such are arguably in a better position to interpret them than the producer as of late.

I've regularly read the BP annual report, and have come to regard it as little more than a curiosity. Schlumberger, Shell and Total have a firmer grip on the world oil situation, based on my read of their CEO's comments. However that may be confirmation bias on my part. We shall see .

[Sep 19, 2018] My estimate is we are at 90% depletion for existing technology

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

conacher says: 09/14/2018 at 10:42 am

Probably the more important item is Russian reserves my estimate is we are at 90% depletion for existing technology and OIP at cost for western Russian reserves. At this point a squeeze plan in Syria would ensure foreign reserve earnings to into wars and not fuels outcome is standard wars as a result of miss spending income
kolbeinh x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:00 pm
Yes, I assume they have some problems since they reformed the tax system in favor of upstream risky projects and at the same time imposed more taxes on downstream refineries. But to assume Russia has problems is like assuming the whole world has a problem. Could be perfectly right, but why expose Russia as opposed to others? Russia has a lot of higher cost oil; just look at the land mass and offshore mass. How could there not be prospects? Some inside knowledge is sorely lacking, since I like most western people don't have connections in that part of the world.
conacher x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 1:38 pm
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/brace-for-the-financial-crash-of-2018-b2f81f85686b

only way to 'pull off above' is both Russia western province and gehwar at "90%" OIP gone.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:49 pm
Thanks for the link Conacher. Folks this article makes a prediction that needs to be read.

Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018

80% of the world's oil has peaked, and the resulting oil crunch will flatten the economy.

New scientific research suggests that the world faces an imminent oil crunch, which will trigger another financial crisis.

A report by HSBC shows that contrary to the commonplace narrative in the industry, even amidst the glut of unconventional oil and gas, the vast bulk of the world's oil production has already peaked and is now in decline; while European government scientists show that the value of energy produced by oil has declined by half within just the first 15 years of the 21st century.

The upshot? Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

Then they say: The HSBC report you need to read, now

Global Oil Supply, Will Mature Field Declines Drive Next Supply Crunch?

This thing came out two years ago. Why did I not hear about it before? Has this been posted here and talked about already?

conacher x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:56 pm
Real issue is giants, your article in 2015 real issue is 90% ..real issue is squeeze play in motion in Syria..goal? if don't have it, don't drill it at home, no rig increases so 'end game' is cut off Isreali/Saudi friendly arab gas to Europe own Caspian area (city I recall owned by Ukraine under British treaty Yelsin) in end no WW2 buildup during economic issues (Russia 5M/day, Saudi similar) no Hilter, just preempt what's left..
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 5:08 pm

"This thing came out two years ago. Why did I not hear about it before? Has this been posted here and talked about already?"

Yes, it was. Here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/open-thread-petroleum-jan-8-2017/#comment-591795

Here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/opec-december-production-data/#comment-593747

And here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/texas-update-january2017/#comment-594346

I downloaded it then, and just had to look at the date the file was created. You probably also have it in your hard-drive.

It provided a nice confirmation to my thesis that Peak Oil won't happen in the future. It is taking place now, and the date we entered the Peak Oil plateau was 2015. You also forecasted that, as I did.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:14 pm
You are correct. Hey, I am 80 years old and I just can't remember shit anymore.

Okay, I posted a few days ago that I thought peak oil would be in 2019. Perhaps I was wrong. Hell, I have been wrong quite a few times. But now perhaps peak oil is right now.

Perhaps? We shall see.

But my point is everyone seems to be agreeing with me now. Old giant fields are seeing an ever increase in decline rates. I predicted this a long time ago. Once the water hits those horizontal laterals at the very top of the reservoir, the game is over.

The decline rate in those old giant fields is increasing at an alarming rate. Obviously! Fucking obviously. It could not possibly be otherwise. Thank you and goodnight.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 4:31 am
Memory is less necessary these days with internet, computers, and smart phones, where searches can be run in a moment. Don't worry too much about that.

"But my point is everyone seems to be agreeing with me now."

I discovered your blog in 2014 when looking for confirmation on my suspicion that the oil price crash was going to result in Peak Oil. I was impressed to see that you were there years before through your analyses. I have a lot of respect for you and your intellectual capacity, and I agree with you in many things, besides Peak Oil, including the population problem, and your worries about the environment.

I don't believe the world cannot increase its oil production, I just believe it won't do it. Both Saudi Arabia and Russia have the capacity to go full throttle on what they have left. Shaybah is the most recent supergiant in KSA and expected to produce until 2060 at current output. No doubt they could increase production from Shaybah by a lot, but it is not in their interest to do so. Russia lacks the capacity to quickly increase its production, but there's still plenty of oil in Eastern Siberia, so they could also produce more. Again it is also unlikely, as it would require an investment and effort that goes against their own interest.

Peak Oil is not happening because the world is trying to produce more oil and failing, it is happening by a combination of economical, geological, and political factors that could not be easily predicted and that were set in motion in the early 2000's when the low-hanging fruit of conventional on-shore and off-shore crude oil (the cheapest kind to produce) reached its production limit. Political errors, like taking out Gaddafi, added unnecessary difficulties. The collapse of Venezuela is the latest political cause. And when things start to go wrong, it never rains, but it pours.

Michael B x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:01 am
"Peak Oil is not happening because the world is trying to produce more oil and failing, it is happening by a combination of economical, geological, and political factors that could not be easily predicted and that were set in motion in the early 2000's when the low-hanging fruit of conventional on-shore and off-shore crude oil (the cheapest kind to produce) reached its production limit."

Isn't this just a distinction without a difference? It's peak oil.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:35 am
The issue is that Peak Oil has been misunderstood by most people. The argument that Peak Oil won't happen until this or that date because ultimate reserves are such or such, so often read in this forum, is incorrect. Even economically recoverable reserves are not decisive. To make the problem intractable there are many liquids so some might peak while others don't so discussions about Peak Oil are endless.

But it is very simple. Peak Oil is when the world no longer gets the oil it needs to keep expanding its economy. And the best way to measure it is through C+C, because crude oil is what we have been getting since the late 19th C ans is the stuff that produces everything our economy needs, from asphalt to diesel, plane fuel, and gasoline. NGL won't cut it. Biofuels won't cut it.

And Peak Oil is being determined by economical and political factors, besides the geology.

The difference matters because Peak Oil is going to get almost everybody by surprise. Most won't realize what is the cause of all the troubles we are going to get and they'll be reassured that there is plenty of oil to be extracted, which is true but irrelevant.

Michael B x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:27 am
Thanks for the reply. I also tremble at the prospect of what is to happen because of the failure of the predictions last decade. I can only describe it through an analogy (being a lay reader and a writer):

In the 2000s, people were saying that we had an ugly wound and that we had better do something about it. But instead of properly addressing the wound, we just wrapped it in gauze, and when the blood stopped showing through, we said, "See? All better." That's my analogy for the "shale revolution" -- it was essentially a Bandaid. The complacency has only worsened in the last ten years.

This has just made the infection all the worse. When pus starts showing through the dressing and we unwrap it this time -- we're going to find gangrene.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 7:39 am
Michael,

I am re-reading Joseph Tainter's 1998 book "The collapse of complex societies." It is a sober reading that shows that in the end the laws of entropy and diminishing returns always produce the same result. We are not more intelligent than the people that preceded us. If anything we can only be stupider on average. We just have a very high opinion of ourselves.

Time for a wake up and a little bit more darwinism in our lives. The problem is the pain. With so many people it is just going to be unbearable. On a scale never imagined, not even by writers of bad sci-fi.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 9:20 am
That would be a more important definition of peak oil to me, and I think we are definitely there. Then we have the absolute production definition, which was the original definition, as to production. It is now anticlimactic to your definition. As to the date or year it happens, who cares? More importantly, now, is when demand will lower enough to stop draining inventories. At what oil price will that start occurring? How fast will alternate sources replace unmet demand? New directions and everyone is likely to be wrong on estimates. EIA and IEA were totally useless before, and that will probably not change in the near future. Looking in the past won't give us much, and the future is anybody's guess.

As to current prices, $68 oil won't get any extra interest from E&Ps outside of the Permian that is stalled. To any measurable extent. Close to $80 oil is not expanding interest very much outside of the US. We are just living on borrowed time.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:13 am
Guym,

Oil prices are likely to continue to rise, especially if your estimates of future production (roughly similar to my estimates, but perhaps a bit more pessimistic) are correct, unless consumption of oil stops increasing. My guess is that oil (C+C) consumption will continue to increase at 400 to 800 kb/d each year , until oil prices get to about $150/b or more (around 2025 to 2027),by that time or soon after ( maybe 2030) oil consumption growth may stop either because of the expansion of electric and natural gas powered transport or because of a second Great Financial Crisis. My hope is it will be the former, but I think the latter scenario is much more likely.

Hopefully Keynes' General Theory will make a comeback before then.

It is a dollar on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/General-Theory-Employment-Interest-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B018055I7Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:43 am
Ron Wrote:
"I predicted this a long time ago. Once the water hits those horizontal laterals at the very top of the reservoir, the game is over. "

FWIW: That's already happened. when it occurs, they drill a new horizontal above the old one. The new lateral also have valves on there ports. so that when the water breaches one or more of the ports, they shut them off to reduce water cut. I posted Saudi Aramco tech articles here back between 2014 and 2016 when they were available on the SA website.

Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 11:32 pm
Hi Carlos, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I tend to agree with peak oil being now (ish). From what I recall the peak month for C+C was, so far, in November 2016. I suppose there is also a peak day, a peak weak, and a peak year. Folks seem to like packaging time in various proportions. Hell, there's probably a peak decade and a peak hour. My guess is the peak year will be 2018. I like, because I'm a bit thick at maths, how Ron has added trailing 12 month average to his world production chart. I just look at the 12 month trailing average for each December to get an idea of how much was produced in each calendar year. It seems that 12 month trailing average for December 2018 will beat that of 2017. My guess is 2019 won't beat 2018. Or will any other year after that. So, if Ron say's 2019, and I say 2018, then it seems that I think he is wrong lol he's probably 100 times smarter than me so doesn't lose sleep over it lol. Up until this time I have always agreed with Ron on peak oil. But now, I throw down the gauntlet! 2018 vs 2019. Two will enter, one will leave.
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:08 am
Hi Survivalist,

The exact week, month, or year when maximal production is reached has only historical interest. The point is that since the end of 2015 the 12-month averaged C+C production has barely increased (EIA data) despite the increase in demand.

Dec 2015 80,564 100.0%
Dec 2016 80,579 100.0%
Dec 2017 80,936 100.5%
Apr 2018 81,363 101.0%

We will have to see how it evolves over to the next December, but so far it is annualized to a 0.4% increase. To me we are in a bumpy plateau since late 2015 and all those meager gains and more will be lost in the next crisis. The problem will be evident to many when after the crisis we are not able to increase production above those values.

Peak Oil is a situation, not a date, and we are in that situation since late 2015. The oil that the world demands cannot be produced so prices are going up, and up. I suppose it is possible that the powers that be intervene to reduce global oil demand by favoring a crisis in developing countries, like Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, through interest rate changes. Wait, it is already happening. It is a dangerous tactic, as crises can spread around, and the interest rise weakens the economy.

Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:59 am
Carlos,

Well one has to define the plateau a bit better. If we make the bounds wide enough one could say the peak was 2005 or even 1980 and we have been on a bumpy plateau since that point.

Better in my view to define peak as peak in centered 12 month average output wth center between month 6 and 7.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 12:42 pm
Dennis,

I use a 13-month centered average, so it is symmetrical with 6 months at each side.

But really, after a clear period of production growth 2010-2014, there was a strong growth in production 2014-2015 in response to falling prices, and then production got stuck in late 2015.

It is not a question if we are in a plateau (or very reduced growth) period, but what happens afterwards. After the previous plateau 2005-2009 there was a clear fall 2009-2010, before tight oil saved the day.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:23 am
Carlos,

The recent plateau is due to excess inventory and the resulting low oil price level. Oil inventories have been reduced over the past 12 to 18 months and as oil prices increase, output will also increase with perhaps a 6 to 12 month lag. How much will it need to rise above the Dec 2015 level before you no longer consider that output has not risen above your "plateau". Give me a number, is it 81.5 Mb/d, 82 Mb/b, I prefer to use a year rather than 13 months, that's 182 days on either side of the middle of the 12 month period. On leap years we can use Midnight of day 183 🙂

Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:11 pm
One issue that has been corrected is that reserve requirements for large banks have increased.

Also lenders are more careful with their mortgages making a housing bubble less likely.

In addition, the assumption that higher oil prices played a major role in the GFC is incorrect.

Perhaps there is a looming recession, whether this happens in 2018, 2030 or some other year we will only know when it occurs.
Someone who predicts a recession every year will be right eventually.

I maintain my guess of 2023 to 2027 for the 12 month centered average c+c peak and severe recession GFC2 starting 2029 to 2033, lasting 5 to 7 years.

[Sep 19, 2018] One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher

x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:27 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher, and we won't be belabor this further because the point here is a question above -- how does society react too insufficient oil?

The question is never analyzed in a particular way. It's usually evaluated from the consumer's perspective. Who does what to get the oil they need. We can imagine they bid higher, we can imagine that day seize the oil enroute to someone else, and we can imagine a magical agreement on the part of everyone to stop all economic activity not involved in food production/distribution to reduce global consumption.

What seldom is described is the decision making process within the leadership of oil producers and exporters. It seems clear that a sudden awareness of insufficiency would yield leadership meetings making decisions not about how to distribute more oil to customers, but rather how to keep the oil for future generations of the producing country, without getting invaded and destroyed.

One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory. Or perhaps more effective would be investing in the necessary explosives or nuclear material for one's own oil fields, and inform potential invaders that the oil will remain the property of the country whose geography covers it, or the fields will be contaminated for hundreds of years to deny them to anyone else.

Clearly this is the optimal path for an oil producer and not seeking some technology that can allow them to drain the resources of future generations more rapidly now.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:13 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher,

Watcher, I assume you think demand is what people want. But there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford. So "demand" in that sense has no meaning whatsoever. So what happens is the price of gasoline, or whatever, rises or falls until supply equals demand. As prices rise, demand falls and as prices fall, demand rises because people can now afford it. Therefore demand always equals consumption. Demand is what people buy at the price they can afford. I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it. A poll perhaps? 😉

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:35 am
Ron,

I answered that above
http://peakoilbarrel.com/opec-august-production-data-2/#comment-651890

Estimating demand is essential for a company and can determine its survival. Demand is dependent on price, so demand estimates are essential for deciding the price of a product. The curves for price and demand cross at a point that maximizes income.

Demand is estimated statistically (polls sometimes), with models, and expert forecast. It has a large uncertainty.

"there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford."

That is potential demand at a lower price point. It is estimated in the same way. Companies decide to lower their prices with hopes to realize that lower-price demand.

"demand always equals consumption."

Exactly. Demand becomes consumption when realized, so it only makes sense to talk about demand in the future or the present (due to lack of real-time data). It doesn't make sense to talk about past demand, because it becomes consumption or sales.

Watcher x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 12:26 pm
There is a numerical measure for how much people want gasoline, regardless of price.

It is the length of the line of cars at the gas station in the 1970s. Demand was measured in 100s of feet. Price somewhat doesn't matter. If you can't afford it, you put it on a credit card and then default.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:20 pm
Put it on the credit card and not pay it. Because, it was de fault of the company to give it to you in the first place.
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 7:18 pm
The length of the queue is an interesting metric by which to measure the want that people have for an item. Nice one. I'm gonna use that. Reminds me of my Dad's old story about lining up for a week to buy tickets to see The Beatles.
Fred Magyar x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:30 pm
When you are lining up to buy tickets to see the Beatles it might be called a 'Want' or a 'Desire'. However, when it is the line at the soup kitchen it becomes 'Hunger' or 'Desperation'!
And that queue can sometimes feel like a hundred miles
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:17 pm
I remember that -- -
It was eye opening.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 12:58 am
The bigger issue is people, Business, & gov'ts servicing their debt. If the cost of energy increases, it make it more difficult to service their debt. Recall that Oil prices peaked at $147 right before the beginning of the 2008/2009 economic crisis. Since then 2008 Debt continued to soar as companies & gov'ts piled on more debt. Debt is promise on future production. Borrow now and pay it back over time.

I recall the presentation Steven Kopits did about 4 or 5 years ago that stated Oil production was well below demand. I think real global oil demand was projected to be about 120mmbd back in 2012-2013 (sorry don't recall the actual figures).

I think the bigger factor is how steep the declines will be. Presumably all of the super giants are in the same shape and likely heavily relied on horizontal drilling to offset natural decline rates. Presuming as the oil column shrinks in the decline rates will rapidly accelerate. Most of the Artic\Deep water projects were cancelled back in 2014\2015, and I believe most of those projects would take about 7 years to complete and need between Oil at $120 to $150/bbl (in 2012 dollars) to be economical. I am not sure the world can sustainably afford $120+ oil, especially considering the amount of new debt that has been added in the past 10 years.

Ron Wrote:
" I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it"

Perhaps the word "Gluttony" or the phase "Business As Usual". People don't like change, especially when the result, is a decrease in living standards.

Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 3:11 am
Being willing to pay more for oil may change who gets it. But it will not alter the fact that someone who wants oil will not get it. That will be a ripple of market information which will travel around the world pretty quick, I should imagine!
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:31 pm
There is always somebody who wants oil but cannot afford it.

This is unlikely to change in the next 30 to 40 years.

farmboy x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 10:52 am
The vast majority in almost all the places in the world would like to use more oil but their income is not enough so they end up doing with less. That includes me. Who doesn't want a bigger faster newer lawn mower, truck, or tractor? What person would not prefer the latest iphone etc. ? or going on vacation, eating out at high end steakhouses? The main reason they can't is because it would take more and cheaper oil for them to be able to afford it. Else they can only try to take it away from someone else? The peak in global oil production/person happened back in 1979, not because folks were tired of using it all but due to the laws of physics coming into play.
Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 11:05 pm
So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase).

In the first case (price constrained) normal market behaviour will apply – folk pay more (if they can afford it) to get more.

But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had.

With the prevailing declining yields and declining discoveries, are we not in the transition between these two states – moving from price constrained to resource constrained? And once we get well into resource constrained, the price a buyer can pay will determine who gets the remaining available oil, and no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 12:43 am
The second case is my main interest. And I think we are already there. We wouldn't be looking at LTO and oil sands if there were cheaper options.

LTO decline rates should make the issue more obvious when there are fewer places to drill new wells.

Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 3:43 am
LTO decline rate would be no problem by a conventional / state possessed oil company.

They would have a field with tight oil, and then just equip let's say 20 fracking / drilling teams and start to produce through their field in 30 or 50 years. They would have a slow decline by starting at the best location and getting to the worse one, while increasing experience / technic during the years to compensate a bit.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 6:23 am
You have a pretty good argument except for the "30 or 50 years" part. That's where the wheels fell off your go-cart. Just how large would the tight oil reservoir have to be to keep 20 drilling and fracking units for 30 to 50 years? And if you assume other oil companies are in that same reservoir doing the same thing? They are going to cover a lot of acreage very fast.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:35 pm
Adam Ash,

It matters very little. At any time t the available supply is limited and the market price will determine who gets what is available. Those willing to pay more than others will get the oil. When we reach a point where no more oil can be supplied at price P, there might always be some more oil that could be at some higher price P', it is simply a matter of oil prices reaching the point that there are substitutes that can replace the use of oil in some uses. Today the biggest use for oil is transport and electricity and natural gas may soon replace a lot of this use, especially as oil becomes scarce and prices increase.

At $100 to $120/b the transition to EVs could be quite rapid, maybe taking 20 to 25 years to replace 90% of new ICEV sales and then another 15 years for most of the fleet to be replaced as old cars are scrapped. So by 2055 most land transport uses for oil will be eliminated.

The higher oil prices rise, the more incentive there will be to switch to cheaper EVs, even natural gas will probably not be able to compete with EVs as Natural Gas will also peak (2030 to 2035) and prices will rise. It will probably be unwise to spend a lot of money for Natural gas fueling infrastructure, though perhaps it might work for long haul trucking, rail seems a more sensible option.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:23 am
Adam Ash Wrote:
"So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase)"

Consider this way:
There is already a huge shortage of $10/bbl oil, and a massive glut of $300/bbl oil. There is always shortage resources. Price is just a system that balances demand with supply.

Adam Ash Wrote:
"But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them."

Not exactly. People that can only afford $50/bbl Oil get out priced by people willing to pay $100/bbl. Supply shifts to the people that can afford the hire price at the expense of people that cannot afford the higher cost. Higher prices will lead to new production, even if has a Negative EROEI (ie tar sands using cheap NatGas).

In an ideal world, higher prices lead to less energy waste (flying, recreation boating) and better efficiency (more energy efficient buildings & vehicles). But I am not sure that will be the case in our world.

The first to suffer from high energy prices will be the people living in poor nations. Recall back in 2008-2014 we had the Arab spring when people could afford the food costs, and started mass riots and overthrough gov'ts. This will return when Oil prices climb back up.

Its possible that the world make continue to experience price swings, as global demand struction decreases demand. For instance in July 2008 Oil was at $147/bbl but by Jan 2009 it was about $30/bbl. I doubt we will see such large price swings, but I also doubt that Oil will continuously move up without any price corrections.

Realistically we are in deflation driven global economy as the excessive debt applies deflationary force to the economy. However central banks counter deflation with artificially low interest rates and currency printing (ie Quantitive Easing). My guess is that industrialized nation gov't will become increasing dependent on QE and other gimmicks that lead to high inflation\stagnation.

[Sep 19, 2018] Deliberate exaggeraton of Saudi reserves

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 9:35 am
I think Dennis said some time ago that Saudi's 266 billion barrels of reserves that they claim was perhaps when they raised P2 reserves to P1 reserves.

Naaaa, that's not where they got it. They still claim 403 billion barrels of P2 reserves and 802 billion barrels of P3 reserves. And that 802 billion barrels will soon be increased to 900 billion barrels via enhanced recovery techniques.

This is a good article if you need a good belly laugh today. It is brought to you on the opinion page of Arab News. Arab News is a Saudi Publication just in case anyone is wondering. I used to get it in hard copy, free, courtesy of ARAMCO, when I was there.

Does Saudi Arabia have enough oil?

Saudi Aramco, according to its own records, has about 802.2 billion barrels of oil resources, including about 261 billion barrels of proven reserves; 403.1 billion of probable, possible and contingent reserves. The company has produced up to 138 billion barrels of oil to date out of the 802.2 billion barrels.

It plans to raise oil resources to 900 billion barrels from the 802.2 billion over the long term as its also plans to increase recovery rate of reserves to 70 percent from the current 50 percent.

P.S. When I was in Saudi they had a word for this kind of thing. They called it wasta . Wasta means "deliberate exaggeration" as a way of dialogue. That's just the way they talk. They don't believe they are lying. They really expect you to know they are just exaggerating. They don't expect you to take it literally.

[Sep 19, 2018] This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up.

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

George Kaplan

x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:14 am Some interesting figures from the OPEC annual statistical review earlier this year that I missed when it came out: https://asb.opec.org/index.php/interactive-charts

First crude only peaked in 2016, with 2017 below 2016 and 2015.

Reply


George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:15 am

Second oil reserves have been flat since around 2010, and declining recently for the first time since the 1970s. Note, before someone points it out, they don't count Canadian Bitumen.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:23 am
This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up.

Timthetiny x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 1:03 am
That's to be expected.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 2:00 am
"This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up."

Well to some degree, technology has been able to extract more oil from a field. Thus a field discovered in 1950 with an initial proven reserve of 100mbbls, may have 125mbbls or proven reserves as technology has improved recovery rates. That said technology improvements likely don't match the paper proven reserves.

Fernando Leanme x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:44 am
The Venezuelan heavy oil reserves are overstated (I assume the large bump prior to 2010 is the booking of the Magna Reserva in the Orinoco Oil belt, which i know are fake). It's fairly easy to eyeball the better number by substracting 300 billion a flat line around 1200. If you want to add future bookings in that heavy oil belt, add up to 50 billion gradually. Dont forget that at the current decline rate Venezuela will be producing about 1.1 million BOPD in december, and IF things go as I think they will sometime in the first half of 2019 exports will drop to zero for a few months.
George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:15 am
Third gas reserves also flat. If condensate and NGLs have been meeting the increased demand that crude has been unable to, then that might be about to stop.

[Sep 12, 2018] Trump Sanctions on Iran May Already Be Backfiring as Tehran's Oil Revenues Soar by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.mintpressnews.com

Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. September 12th, 2018

Despite the Trump administration's " maximum pressure " campaign targeting the Iranian economy, Iran's crude oil and oil product revenues jumped a surprising 60 percent from March 21 to July 23. In addition, figures provided by Iran's Central Bank show that Iran's revenues from oil sales soared by 84.2 percent over that same period, setting a new record.

The increased revenues seem to have resulted from a jump in oil prices this year as well as Iran's high oil export volume during part of that period. Notably, the increased revenues were reported despite the United States' announcement in May that it would sanction those purchasing Iranian oil starting in early November, with the ultimate goal of reducing Iranian oil sales to zero in order to place pressure on the Iranian government.

The U.S.' efforts have had some noticeable effects on Iranian oil exports, as the country's exports for the month of August were significantly lower than those of July. However, the drop has only seen exports fall to near March 2016 levels , when the U.S. was not pursuing a sanctions policy against Iran and the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was in effect.

Further dashing U.S. hopes of crushing Iranian oil exports have been recent announcements from Iran's top two customers, China and India , that they would continue to import Iranian crude despite the looming threat of U.S. sanctions. India, along with some other countries, has sought " waivers " from Washington that would allow them to continue to import Iranian oil and avoid retaliation from the U.S. for a certain period of time.

In addition, the European Union, which had previously joined the U.S. in targeting Iranian oil exports in 2012, has shown its unwillingness to follow Washington's lead this time around, openly vowing to rebel against the U.S. sanctions regimen and increasing the likelihood that Europe will continue to buy some Iranian oil despite U.S. threats.

Risks for U.S. and global economies

Another indication that efforts to curb Iranian oil exports are backfiring for the Trump administration is the jump in oil prices that has resulted from concerns about the U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil exports. The increase in oil prices is likely to be felt domestically in the U.S., the world's largest consumer of oil, potentially posing a political risk to Trump and his fellow Republicans ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. In addition, further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation.

Such concerns have prompted U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to meet his Saudi and Russian counterparts in an effort to convince those two countries to keep oil output high in order to offset a reduction in future Iranian oil exports. While Saudi Arabia has already stated it would increase output, Russia is unlikely to comply, given its relationship with Iran and Washington's threat to impose new sanctions on Moscow. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia are currently the world's three largest oil producers, accounting for about a third of global crude oil output.

While the Trump administration may have assumed that U.S. oil producers – and the U.S. economy in general -- would benefit from the elimination of Iranian oil exports, the growing rejection of the impending U.S. sanctions by other countries shows that these nations are unwilling to pay for more expensive American oil or even Saudi oil, preferring less expensive Iranian oil despite potential future consequences. Furthermore, efforts to increase U.S. crude production have fallen short of government expectations, further complicating the U.S.' efforts to offset an increase in oil prices resulting from Iranian oil sanctions.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann's Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

[Sep 10, 2018] Only the zero-interest rates of the Fed's Quantitative Easing could have financed the fracking boom - without QE, US oil and gas would not even exist on the world's radar.

Notable quotes:
"... Fracking has indeed produced oil and gas, but the fields deplete rapidly without massive additional investment. Only the zero-interest rates of the Fed's Quantitative Easing could have financed the fracking boom - without QE, US oil and gas would not even exist on the world's radar. ..."
Sep 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Sep 9, 2018 11:27:48 PM | link

Money. Finance. Currency.

The Keiser Report has a very upbeat show today on RT, in which they celebrate how the NYT has finally come round to reporting the truth about US fracking, in ways that Max and Stacy were reporting 9 years ago.

Fracking has indeed produced oil and gas, but the fields deplete rapidly without massive additional investment. Only the zero-interest rates of the Fed's Quantitative Easing could have financed the fracking boom - without QE, US oil and gas would not even exist on the world's radar.

And yet Neocons are taking the US production of hydrocarbons as a major plank in their platform of war, building castles in the air from a mythical "energy supremacy" and treating current production levels as a weapon of war -- but the economics of this relatively minor industry will shut it down soon.

In the second half of the 30-minute show, Max interviews Wolf Richter and they discuss Argentina mostly. It's a rapid and valuable overview of how the US Hegemon deals with its favorite suckers south of the border, and how currencies and bonds work - and also why the IMF acts only to bail out investors and bond-holders, and never the real economy of the victim nation.

Fracking financial crisis lurking (Keiser E1277)

[Sep 09, 2018] Iraq protests threaten oil production and critical ports by Omar al-Jaffal and Safa Khalaf

Notable quotes:
"... Basra demonstrators, enraged over polluted water and years of extreme neglect, engage in arson to make their point ..."
Sep 09, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Basra demonstrators, enraged over polluted water and years of extreme neglect, engage in arson to make their point September 9, 2018 12:48 AM (UTC+8) Basra protesters set the Iranian consulate ablaze on Friday night, the latest manifestation of outrage against influential actors in Basra city, which should be one of the richest in the country with its massive oil reserves and port, but which has become one of the most decrepit.

More than 18,000 Basra residents have been poisoned by tap water since the start of the month, according to the Basra province health directorate. Hospitals, inundated with patients, have collapsed under the pressure.

Basra, like neighboring Iran, is majority Shiite. But in recent years, residents have grown hostile toward Tehran over its dominance of Iraqi affairs, its support for political parties notorious for public waste and its backing of armed factions that enforce themselves as morality police.

The torching of the Iranian consulate came just 24 hours after the protesters -- ignoring a government curfew -- set fire to the offices of powerful Shiite political parties and Iran-backed militias that formed the backbone of the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units.

The demonstrators did not spare the local government headquarters and provincial council, setting those ablaze as well.

Basra has been roiled by unrest since July, and the latest round of revolt was met with tear gas and live fire. The first week of September saw nine demonstrators killed and 93 wounded, according to the UN.

The deadly force has only inflamed the movement. Over the past two nights, security evaporated from the streets while the military kept to the sidelines. Angry groups of youths roamed the city center, demanding revenge for those killed and for years of neglect. The city appears out of control.

The unrest has put a spotlight on corruption in Iraq's economic capital, just as the Ministry of Oil seeks foreign investment – including from China – to transform the country from an importer of oil products to an exporter.

Gulf port closed

Demonstrators on Thursday shut down the country's most important port, Umm Qasr.

Basra province is Iraq's only outlet to the sea, and Umm Qasr is just one of five commercial sea ports that serve as the country's main gateway for basic necessities.

The costly shutdown prompted the minister of transportation to call for restraint via local radio stations.

"Iraq is losing millions," Kadhim Finjan pleaded over the airwaves. The port was eventually reopened Saturday before dawn.

Like the oil fields, these critical hubs have drawn protesters, who see the wealth they create being siphoned off by corruption.

An officer with the port authority, who spoke to Asia Times on condition of anonymity, said it was "impossible" for security to control the port

The ports – strategically placed on the Persian Gulf – are shared between the political parties, a phenomenon that saps their revenues and allows goods to enter without passing through customs.

An officer with the port authority, who spoke to Asia Times on condition of anonymity, said it was "impossible" for security to control the port.

"The political parties treat the ports like their private property. Goods are exempted from controls and inspection, and the taxes are reduced for traders dealing with the ruling parties," he said.

Before the ports earned the ire of the demonstrations, it was the oil sector.

Basra's 15 oil fields account for nearly 60% of the country's oil reserves. Revenues from the province generate approximately $60 million daily, or 3.6 of Iraq's total 4.3 million barrels per day.

The government relies on the sector to finance its activities, but only a fraction of the national budget flows back to Basra.

The stark contrast between Basra's oil wealth and the miserable conditions of the population has prompted demonstrators this summer to organize sit-ins blocking the gates to the oil fields.

In addition to the 15-hour power cuts and filthy drinking water, they are demanding jobs.

Foreign companies operating in Basra are required to hire locals for at least 50% of job posts, and up to 80% depending on the contract. But those laws are often flouted.

The government has also allowed foreign companies to acquire vast swathes of agricultural lands to be used as oil fields north of Basra, resulting in the bulldozing of orchards and date palm fields and increased unemployment.

"The oil extracted from our city lands is not beneficial to us," one demonstrator told Asia Times.

"It is better to stop its extraction than have it stolen," he said, blaming the government and foreign companies alike.

According to provincial council member Ahmed Abdel Hussein, half of Basra residents live in poverty.

The government says unemployment stands at about at 7.8%, but academic studies suggest a far higher rate. There are no official statistics for the province.

Feared militia takeover

The government in Baghdad fears the deteriorating situation in Basra could disrupt oil production.

"The oil companies have been greatly affected by the protests," said Adel al-Thamari, an academic and investment analyst in Basra.

"The workers cannot access the fields because of the closure of roads or closing of entry gates," he told Asia Times, adding that "the oil companies have reduced the number of foreign experts for fear of their lives and inability to afford high insurance costs."

The decline in production puts the financial burden on Baghdad. "Companies will raise the terms of credit, which means a great loss for Iraq, which will have to pay compensation to the companies," he said.

Along with the world's major oil companies, hundreds of logistics and security support companies provide operational services to the fields in Basra. As security deteriorates, they too will have to withdraw. "The withdrawal of these companies would mean production stops," Thamari said.

The concerns of oil companies go beyond the protests to fears of a militia takeover.

"The army has taken the position of neutrality toward the demonstrations, and the fear is that the Popular Mobilization Units will deploy. This would cause a further deterioration of security, because the militias have their own internal divisions and such an escalation could neutralize the official security forces," Thamari said.

[Sep 04, 2018] Kunstler Warns -Some Kind Of Epic National Restructuring Is In The Works

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday ( The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground ). ..."
"... As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale. ..."
"... Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods. ..."
"... Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes. ..."
"... A lot of colleges will go out of business. Most college loans will never be paid back (and the derivatives based on them will blow up) ..."
"... The leviathan state is too large, too reckless, and too corrupt. Insolvency will eventually reduce its scope and scale. Most immediately, the giant matrix of domestic spying agencies has turned on American citizens. ..."
"... It will resist at all costs being dismantled or even reined in. One task at hand is to prosecute the people in the Department of Justice and the FBI who ran illegal political operations in and around the 2016 election. These are agencies which use their considerable power to destroy the lives of individual citizens. Their officers must answer to grand juries. ..."
"... As with everything else on the table for debate, the reach and scope of US imperial arrangements has to be reduced. ..."
Sep 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

And so the sun seems to stand still this last day before the resumption of business-as-usual, and whatever remains of labor in this sclerotic republic takes its ease in the ominous late summer heat, and the people across this land marinate in anxious uncertainty.

What can be done?

Some kind of epic national restructuring is in the works. It will either happen consciously and deliberately or it will be forced on us by circumstance. One side wants to magically reenact the 1950s; the other wants a Gnostic transhuman utopia. Neither of these is a plausible outcome.

Most of the arguments ranging around them are what Jordan Peterson calls "pseudo issues." Let's try to take stock of what the real issues might be.

Energy

The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday ( The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground ).

For all that, the shale oil producers still couldn't make money at it. If interest rates go up, the industry will choke on the debt it has already accumulated and lose access to new loans. If the Fed reverses its current course - say, to rescue the stock and bond markets - then the shale oil industry has perhaps three more years before it collapses on a geological basis, maybe less. After that, we're out of tricks. It will affect everything.

The perceived solution is to run all our stuff on electricity, with the electricity produced by other means than fossil fuels , so-called alt energy. This will only happen on the most limited basis and perhaps not at all. (And it is apart from the question of the decrepit electric grid itself.) What's required is a political conversation about how we inhabit the landscape, how we do business, and what kind of business we do. The prospect of dismantling suburbia -- or at least moving out of it -- is evidently unthinkable. But it's going to happen whether we make plans and policies, or we're dragged kicking and screaming away from it.

Corporate tyranny

The nation is groaning under despotic corporate rule. The fragility of these operations is moving toward criticality. As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale.

Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods.

The implosion of national chain retail is already underway. Amazon is not the answer, because each Amazon sales item requires a separate truck trip to its destination, and that just doesn't square with our energy predicament. We've got to rebuild main street economies and the layers of local and regional distribution that support them. That's where many jobs and careers are.

Climate change is most immediately affecting farming. 2018 will be a year of bad harvests in many parts of the world. Agri-biz style farming, based on oil-and-gas plus bank loans is a ruinous practice, and will not continue in any case. Can we make choices and policies to promote a return to smaller scale farming with intelligent methods rather than just brute industrial force plus debt? If we don't, a lot of people will starve to death. By the way, here is the useful work for a large number of citizens currently regarded as unemployable for one reason or another.

Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes. Both are destined to be severely downscaled.

A lot of colleges will go out of business. Most college loans will never be paid back (and the derivatives based on them will blow up).

We need millions of small farmers more than we need millions of communications majors with a public relations minor. It may be too late for a single-payer medical system. A collapsing oil-based industrial economy means a lack of capital, and fiscal hocus-pocus is just another form of racketeering. Medicine will have to get smaller and less complex and that means local clinic-based health care. Lots of careers there, and that is where things are going, so get ready.

Government over-reach

The leviathan state is too large, too reckless, and too corrupt. Insolvency will eventually reduce its scope and scale. Most immediately, the giant matrix of domestic spying agencies has turned on American citizens.

It will resist at all costs being dismantled or even reined in. One task at hand is to prosecute the people in the Department of Justice and the FBI who ran illegal political operations in and around the 2016 election. These are agencies which use their considerable power to destroy the lives of individual citizens. Their officers must answer to grand juries.

As with everything else on the table for debate, the reach and scope of US imperial arrangements has to be reduced. It's happening already, whether we like it or not, as geopolitical relations shift drastically and the other nations on the planet scramble for survival in a post-industrial world that will be a good deal harsher than the robotic paradise of digitally "creative" economies that the credulous expect.

This country has enough to do within its own boundaries to prepare for survival without making extra trouble for itself and other people around the world. As a practical matter, this means close as many overseas bases as possible, as soon as possible.

As we get back to business tomorrow, ask yourself where you stand in the blather-storm of false issues and foolish ideas, in contrast to the things that actually matter.

[Sep 04, 2018] The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates

Sep 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Most of the arguments ranging around them are what Jordan Peterson calls "pseudo issues." Let's try to take stock of what the real issues might be.

Energy

The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday ( The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground ). For all that, the shale oil producers still couldn't make money at it. If interest rates go up, the industry will choke on the debt it has already accumulated and lose access to new loans. If the Fed reverses its current course - say, to rescue the stock and bond markets - then the shale oil industry has perhaps three more years before it collapses on a geological basis, maybe less. After that, we're out of tricks. It will affect everything.

The perceived solution is to run all our stuff on electricity, with the electricity produced by other means than fossil fuels , so-called alt energy. This will only happen on the most limited basis and perhaps not at all. (And it is apart from the question of the decrepit electric grid itself.) What's required is a political conversation about how we inhabit the landscape, how we do business, and what kind of business we do. The prospect of dismantling suburbia -- or at least moving out of it -- is evidently unthinkable. But it's going to happen whether we make plans and policies, or we're dragged kicking and screaming away from it.

[Sep 02, 2018] An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | link

@82 There is some logic to the Iranians fielding a jet fighter of any sort, even if it is based on a relic of the 1970s.

An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

If that is all those Iranians do that then they will have achieved their purpose.

Alternatively, the Israelis could use fighter escorts but then you have to consider that each escort represents one less bomb-laden F-16 (or, put another way, twice as many sorties).

Simply put: Absent any Iranian jet fighters then the Israelis can commit ALL of their jets to the task of bombing Iranian targets, and do so from the very beginning. But once Iranian fighters are in the mix then the job becomes much harder: the Israelis either have to take out those jets first before committing to a bombing campaign, or they have to commit half their force to escort duties from the very start.

Sure, SU-35s would be much better, but an F-5 is still way better than nothing.

partizan , Sep 2, 2018 3:40:55 AM | link

@Yeah, Right | Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | 144

the Iranian defense budget is one of lowest in that part of the world. even tiny Dubai has higher one.

upgrading an old fighter jet (not only jet) is sometime more costly than developing a new one.

su-35 flanker-e 4++ costs about $85 million a piece. i simply refuse to believe they cannot afford that.

[Aug 29, 2018] Energy Dominance And America First

"Third, while the U.S. is now exporting oil to Europe and elsewhere" -- The USA is net importer of oil. That alone discredits the author
Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile in the North Sea, the new BP owned flow of crude oil from the Forties field was coming on stream and boosted Shell's declining flow of Brent crude oil to the extent that BP were now in a position to control the market. The new Brent/Forties contract rapidly became the preferred global oil price benchmark in preference to land-locked WTI, and the benchmark was later augmented by Statoil's (STO) Oseberg and Ekofisk fields. ..."
"... While this Dark Inventory was funded by investors of petrodollars, the liquidity needed for oil market cash-flows was provided by the Federal Reserve Bank via Quantitative Easing. ..."
"... crude oil in time and space ..."
"... A cynic once said that there are always two reasons for an action: the reason given, and the real reason. ..."
"... "Drillcos are not risk free. If oil prices tumble, investors' ability to grab high returns within a few years fade" ..."
Aug 29, 2018 | seekingalpha.com
BNO , DBO , DNO , DTO , DWT , OIL , OILK , OILX , OLEM , OLO , SCO , SZO , UCO , USL , USO , USOI , UWT , WTID , WTIU Chris Cook Chris Cook Energy, alternative energy, oil & gas, infrastructure ( 908 followers) Summary

ICE Age – how Wall Street and Enron turned oil into an asset class and wrecked the global Oil Market.

Transition through Gas – Obama strategy to achieve energy security/resilience through oil market inflation and a switch to natural gas.

America First - President Trump's new Energy Dominance strategy for a global WTI benchmark and U.S. oil market domination. Introduction

It has been clear since President Trump was elected to office in November 2016 that major changes in financial and commodity markets have been taking place since then, but it has taken until now for any indication to emerge as to any organising principle for the new administration's foreign policy doctrine.

To an outsider, the foreign policy of the Trump administration appears to be based in no particular order firstly on a desire to erase all vestiges of President Obama's policies, whatever they may be, and secondly, on an America First doctrine of primacy of U.S. interests in the global economy.

Finally, on 29 th June, President Trump announced at an Energy Department event "Unleashing American Energy" a new doctrine for energy policy which he termed Energy Dominance, without specifying what this actually means .

In the four months since then, sufficient data points have emerged to make an educated guess. The ICE Age

Towards the tail end of the Clinton administration and the Dot Com boom in 2000, Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) had dinner with his counterpart at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ), John Shapiro. From this dinner was hatched an audacious plan to take control of the global oil market through a new electronic global market platform.

The first step was to acquire a moribund mid-American electronic trading system (Intercontinental Exchange – ICE) and its dynamic founder. Secondly, key oil market intermediary companies (including BP (NYSE: BP ), Shell (NYSE: RDS.A ) & Total (NYSE: TOT )) agreed to provide liquidity in exchange for a share of ICE equity ownership followed by a second tier of market participants who then joined on less attractive terms.

Having secured physical and financial oil market liquidity, ICE still needed participation by end-user producers and consumers. After an abortive effort to acquire the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), ICE made the membership of London's International Petroleum Exchange an offer they could not refuse: either sell IPE to us, or our members take their hedging elsewhere.

Meanwhile in the North Sea, the new BP owned flow of crude oil from the Forties field was coming on stream and boosted Shell's declining flow of Brent crude oil to the extent that BP were now in a position to control the market. The new Brent/Forties contract rapidly became the preferred global oil price benchmark in preference to land-locked WTI, and the benchmark was later augmented by Statoil's (STO) Oseberg and Ekofisk fields.

Enron-Style Financialization

Enron really were the smartest guys in the room. With the complicity of investment banks they were able to defraud investors and creditors alike for over a decade through the use of tripartite 'Prepay' funding contracts and accounting chicanery which concealed these liabilities off-balance sheet. The extraordinary fact is that over the period of Enron's existence some 70% of their income was entirely illusory.

There is nothing new about such macro (long term) fraud or manipulation: a producer cartel manipulated the tin market for decades until the price crashed in the 1985 Tin Crisis. Similarly, Sumitomo's Yasuo Hamanaka manipulated the copper market for ten years, five years of which was after David Threlkeld had rumbled what they were doing and blown the whistle, only to be ignored.

From 2001 onwards, the passive investment phenomenon of index fund and ETFs began to make inroads into the oil market via the inspired marketing narrative of 'inflation hedging' – ie off-loading dollar risk in favour of oil risk. These long-only passive investors enabled oil producers such as BP and Shell (who wished to offload oil risk in favour of dollar risk) not only to hedge production, but also to monetise inventory and even reserves.

There's nothing wrong with the use of prepay financing provided it is done transparently, but if it is opaque, then as Enron demonstrates, the results can be devastating.

It is my case that several oil market players, particularly BP and Goldman Sachs, and probably extending to Norway's Statoil and at least one other U.S. investment bank, began to quietly facilitate and use prepay funding on a big scale. The result was to withhold physical crude from the market and as the global market tightened this led to the inflation of a bubble in price which those involved always knew was unsustainable.

This bubble was spiked at $147/barrel in July 2008 ( some say deliberately ) and while global physical demand remained buoyant the reason for the oil price collapse to $35/barrel was that buyers were unable to actually pay for the oil. This was because international trade finance clearing through instruments such as letters of credit became unavailable when trust temporarily evaporated from the dollar system of global trade clearing and settlement.

Transition through Gas

The organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy has for over 100 years been energy security, and the means to achieve this has oscillated between (dumb) military and (smart) financial action.

President Obama's smart financial energy policy doctrine had two key objectives. The first aim was to reduce reliance on Saudi oil, and this required (as after the 1973/4 Oil Shock) prices high enough to make viable new U.S. and global production, funded by petrodollars reinvested by beneficiaries of inflated oil prices.

So, as I documented in a series of Seeking Alpha articles beginning with Oil: The Big Long the oil price was rapidly re-inflated and supported for 5 years over $80/barrel through Enron-style prepay funding. This created an opaque Dark Inventory of oil reserves held by a custodian (the U.S. Big Hill SPR) but where the economic interest is held by fund investors via prepay contracts with investment banks.

A highly lucrative two tier false market in oil was also created where most market participants were (and remain) unaware of the true beneficial ownership of oil. This led to periodic unaccountable moves in inventory and to trading coups (short term micro manipulation) via 'short squeezes' and otherwise. While this Dark Inventory was funded by investors of petrodollars, the liquidity needed for oil market cash-flows was provided by the Federal Reserve Bank via Quantitative Easing.

At these inflated price levels, substitution by renewable energy and investment in energy efficiency acted to reduce demand, while massive investment in shale oil increased U.S. production by 5m bpd in 3 years.

The second objective was a switch from oil to natural gas, and when the U.S. was obliged to leave Saudi Arabia, they thereupon established their biggest regional base in Qatar, who co-own with Iran the greatest single natural gas reserve on the planet – South Pars.

Energy Dominance

In the four months since President Trump's announcement, the market strategy developed by Gary Cohn is now being implemented and its elements are emerging into view.

Firstly, there has been a massive inflow of Managed Money into the oil market, particularly the Brent contract, which has seen the Brent oil price increase by 35% since the starting point, which I believe can be dated to the August Brent/BFOE Crude Oil option expiry on June 27 th 2017.

Secondly, on 1 st July 2017 the Saudis ceased to price oil against the BWAVE weighted average of Brent/BFOE futures contract (perfectly suited for HFT algorithmic trading) and began to price oil against the ICE Brent settlement price.

This image shows the striking change in market price activity which took place at that point

Thirdly, now that the spot Brent/BFOE price has been inflated through $60 per barrel, internationally accessible U.S. oil deliveries are now available to the market which form a necessary precondition for a successful U.S. based futures contract.

The direct effect of this flow of funds into the market has been to:

Finally, and perhaps the most intriguing data point of all, is this chart from Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix titled crude oil in time and space

Here it will be seen that even while the December 2017 Brent futures contract soared over $60 per barrel as fund money poured in, the U.S. WTI December 2019 futures contract was pretty stable around $50 per barrel.

Physical or Financial Demand?

A cynic once said that there are always two reasons for an action: the reason given, and the real reason.

The dominant market narrative is that the backwardation in Brent is evidence of surging global oil demand which has emptied inventories and is leading the price to new sunlit uplands. However, I see the market rather differently.

Firstly, whether the Brent spot month is supported by financial, rather than physical demand, the result will still be a backwardation, and because few oil producers expect a price over $60 to be sustainable they therefore hedge and depress the forward price. In support of this view, I am far from the only market observer who believes that Aramco, and Rosneft would not be selling equity if either Saudi Arabia or Russia believed the oil price trajectory will be positive even in the medium term.

Secondly, it is not a matter of if OPEC members cheat, but how and here Tanker Trackers combination of tanker geolocation with Planet Labs microsatellite imagery is shining new light on the dark world of physical flows of oil.

So for instance, Russia has been overstating production on a grand scale while China is continuing to act as buyer of last resort and had accumulated over 300 million more barrels of inventory at an average rate rate of over 1m bpd in Q1, Q2 & Q3 of 2017 .

Third, while the U.S. is now exporting oil to Europe and elsewhere, October 2017 saw Gunvor landing themselves with an extraordinary 14 out of 21 cargoes of Forties crude oil and a 'record-breaking' fleet of six VLCC tankers then took 12 million barrels of crude oil half way around the world to Asia to buyers of last resort.

The $64 Billion Question

I have yet to find anyone in the market who is either willing or able to answer the simple question of who exactly is buying down the Brent curve?

Someone has bought Brent futures contracts to the tune of some 200,000 December 2018, 100,000 December 2019, and 45,000 December 2020. In addition there are 250,000 further contracts from January 2019 onwards in other contract months.

Could this be refiners hedging crude oil supplies? I think not, because refiners do not tend to hedge oil purchases far forward, and market consensus seems that $55/bbl is an expensive hedge.

So then it must be investors? But if so, then these investors participate on the ICE market via funds who take futures market risk either directly (Managed Money) or indirectly via investment banks (Swap Dealers).

But the problem with this is that Managed Money investors, whether actively speculating for transaction profit (hedge funds), or passively holding and rolling over long-only positions (ETFs & Index funds) participate only in the liquid ICE front month contracts.

So what exactly is going on down the curve?

Firstly, one part of the explanation is that financing of shale oil development has evolved through the entry into the market of DrillCo financing structures where oil market risk is taken by fund investors (eg Carlyle) in future shale oil production. But as the article author said: "Drillcos are not risk free. If oil prices tumble, investors' ability to grab high returns within a few years fade"

Since shale oil production decline rates are high the necessary hedging by investment banks of some £2bn market risk could account for a great deal of 2018 long open interest.

This still leaves open the $64 billion question of which market participant is motivated and able to support the ICE Brent term structure for years into the future by swapping dollar risk (T-Bills) for long term oil risk (oil reserves leased via prepay purchase/resale contracts).

My conclusion by a process of elimination is that this Big Long can only be Saudi Arabia and regional allies, with Saudi Arabia now under the management of the thrusting young Mohammad bin Salman.

America First

So what are the intended outcomes of the U.S. Energy Dominance strategy as outlined above?

Firstly, the re-establishment of WTI as global oil market pricing benchmark after some 15 years domination by the Brent/BFOE benchmark.

Secondly, to stabilise the global oil price between $50 and $60 per barrel, as forecast by S & P Global Platts and BP.

Thirdly, preferential America First U.S. and Saudi oil market access, with U.S. antagonists such as Iran or Russia being able to access the market on inferior terms, if at all.

Finally, the emergence of an Oil Standard for the U.S. dollar through basing the dollar directly on monetized U.S. and Saudi oil reserves.

What is meant by the oil standard, and why the Energy Dominance strategy is doomed to fail, will be the subject of a second article.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

[Aug 26, 2018] US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

Notable quotes:
"... The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests. ..."
Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 3:47 PM

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.
"Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime's behaviour," Bolton said on a visit to Israel, as he claimed current sanctions had been more effective than predicted.
Donald Trump took the US out of Iran's nuclear deal with the west in May and is imposing escalating sanctions, both to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and to end Tehran's perceived interference in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.
Complete removal of Iranian oil from world markets would cut oil supply by more than 4% probably forcing up prices in the absence of any new supplies.
SNIP
Fuller US sanctions, including actions against countries that trade in Iranian oil are due to come into force on 5 November, 180 days after the initial Trump announcement to withdraw.
The measures against Iranian oil importers, and banks that continue to trade with the Central Bank of Iran, will ratchet the pressure to a higher level.
Pompeo has set up an Iran Action group inside the US State Department to coordinate US leverage on companies and countries that cannot show that their trade, including in oil, has fallen significantly by November.
Measures may also be taken against firms that insure ships carrying Iranian crude.
It is expected some of the major Iranian oil importers, such as Russia, China and Turkey, will either ignore the threat of US sanctions, or, possibly in the case of Iraq, Japan and South Korea, seek exemptions.
China takes a quarter of all Iran's oil exports, and with Chinese banks little exposed to the US it can avoid the impact of Trump's sanctions.
REPLY


Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:13 PM

I wonder if China could just take all of Iran's oil? I imagine at the right price they would be happy to do so. China imports about 8 Mb/d, Iran exports about 2.5 Mb/d of oil, seems possible.

Also note that if this does occur and there is no drop in Iranian output, the impact of the Iranian sanctions on the World Oil market will be effectively zero.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:34 PM

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-iran-oil-shipping/exclusive-china-shifts-to-iranian-tankers-to-keep-oil-flowing-amid-us-sanctions-sources-idUSKCN1L50RZ

I wonder what the capacity is of the Chinese and Iranian oil tanker fleet is? If nobody else will buy it or ship it then the tanker fleet will have to be owned/insured by either Iran or China.

Watcher

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:07 PM

Previously posted.

The big issue is the insurance. A US seized cargo triggers insurance on either party, Iran or China. No way that doesn't escalate to violence.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 2:08 PM

I'm interested in knowing if Chinese oil tankers are even capable of hauling 2.5 million barrels a day home from Iran. It seems doubtful that anybody else will be doing it for them. I can't find much info on the size of the Chinese owned tanker fleet and it's capabilities.

While US forces have been known to seize North Korean oil tankers hauling Libyan oil, I find it doubtful that they will seize Chinese ones, for the reason you mentioned; China punches back. Nothing spells the end of hegemony like getting your ass kicked.

Fernando Leanme

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 8:26 AM

One would assume its easy for the chinese to buy used oil tankers if they offer a bit over current market prices. This is a very long term conflict, and they could buy tankers, reregister them Chinese or Iranian or say Russian and start moving that oil.

The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests.

[Aug 26, 2018] Permian -- more cost, less production, more DUCs

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym

Ignored says: 08/21/2018 AT 6:37 PM

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Spending-Boost-Fails-To-Raise-Production-In-The-Permian.html

Permian- more cost, less production, more DUCs. Faces decorated with eggs. REPLY


Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:03 PM

Guym,

The message I get from that piece is that companies are getting ready for next year so they can hit the ground running when the pipeline bottleneck is removed. Output has not decreased, it is just rising more slowly than capital expenditures. No point in completing wells if there is not pipeline space to move the oil, so they are building pads and other facilities and drilling wells, but waiting on completion.

So far this year Permian tight oil output has increased by 478 kb/d, an annual rate of increase of about 820 kb/d. The annual rate of increase from Jan 2017 to July 2018 has been about 829 kb/d.

Guym

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 7:53 PM

Output has not decreased, productivity has. There's a lot in that article. Yeah, DUCs are increasing for next year. Late next year. Conoco is the only company that I read about, that said we do not intend to expand much in the Permian, until they get the infrastructure in place (pipelines). They started running out of pipeline capacity the beginning of the year. I don't know about you, but if I was a CEO, I'd feel like an absolute idiot for not figuring that into the plans. So, for another year, they get to feed the DUCs.

Many a show and tell from the operators, is how they have brought down costs. Now, I have tell everyone that costs are higher than before. That will never go into an annual report, as it makes the CEO look like an idiot.

The companies are not making the production per well that was hyped. Er, maybe we should not include that in the annual report, either. That's what I got from the article.

You don't want people to say you wound up with egg on your face, so you tell them you have decorated your face with egg. It was your intent to look better. Spin.

Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 12:43 PM

Guym,

I don't follow the dog and pony shows given by the oil companies, I just look at the data from the EIA, OPEC, and shaleprofile. I guess everyone interprets information differently, what I see in the article is that output has not risen as high as previously projected because fewer wells are being completed than was projected. It is also probably true that the average completed well has lower EUR than the ridiculous well profiles that are typically presented to investors, but I always dismiss those as hype and smart investors do the same and look up the information at drilling info, frac focus or shaleprofile.com.

The average well productivity in the Permian basin has not decreased, also no decrease in the North Dakota Bakken, or the Eagle Ford, or the Niobrara all based on Enno Peter's presentations at shaleprofile.com.

I also ignore the estimates by the EIA's drilling productivity report as I think that model is poorly done.

Mike

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 8:13 PM

Dennis, respectfully, you need to stop whatever you are doing and go seek help immediately. In an effort to be the eternal optimist, or the staff contrarian, you are losing all credibility with regards to analyzing anything oily in the world. I have no charts, or I would stick them here.

Guy is basically right, there is nothing good to draw from this article whatsoever and the author is one of the best there is. All costs in the shale biz are significantly higher than EVER before. Well productivity is declining, not from takeaway restraints but from well interference, increasing GOR and depletion. Profitability has NOT improved thus far in 2018, the Permian unconventional oil industry is still outspending revenue and interest rates are on their way up, up, and up.

If anybody is spending $3.5MM to drill DUC's and not paying back debt, they too need to seek immediate help. You have become the King of Debt on POB and are discounting completely the role that debt will play in your lofty supply demand economic theories. Rune has just written something very good on that and Art has good data now regarding declining gasoline consumption in the US due to higher prices. That is all debt related, man. You have gone freaking chart bonkers.

And why argue what the KSA says about its reserves? Its their oil, they can say whatever they want to about it and no dumb ass American is going to change it. Right here in the good 'ol US of A, reserve reporting under the ever watchful eye of the SEC, is embarrassingly awful. Shale oil EURS are exaggerated by 30% or more. We now lie in America way better than the Saudis ever did and get this: a lot of people believe it !! Ahem.

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

Mike

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 8:51 PM

Dennis, I have to work for a living but I don't want you to think I criticized you and don't have the balls to respond to all your hours of research arguing with me. I got it. And all the charts. And the models. And the criticism directed at others for guessing, which is all you EVER do. Have you ever seen the back in of a drilling rig in your life? You gotta balance about 500 oil well check books to even be allowed to analyze the oil industry, IMO.

Look, even the EIA seems to thing productivity is declining in the Permian. Goggle it. I get the full meaning of Enno's work, all of it, including this: "all shale oil wells drilled in America before January of 2016 now only account for 27% of total LTO production." Let that sink in a minute.

You embrace debt as thought that is an acceptable thing in the world we live in today, and especially from the shale oil industry, and though you want to be un-hinged from fossil fuels as much as any of the permanent residents you have on your blog, rational ones they are, one and all, you believe strongly in the shale oil industry's ability to pay down its debt, improve its dismal financial performance, and deliver the goods it has promised to America. Its very confusing, actually. And hypocritical. I guess when the shale oil industry says past performance is not indicative of future results, you believe them.

I think, really, all you are doing is defending your damn models.

This fella Cunningham is a smart cookie. Listen up: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/US-Oil-Data-Has-Markets-Confused.html

[Aug 26, 2018] I have some serious doubts about how much and how fast shale oil will grow over the next few years

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 9:39 AM

I have some serious doubts about how much and how fast shale oil will grow over the next few years. I have accumulated no statistics, and have prepared no computations and charts to back up my doubts. However, they should be easily understood in theory, as that's all it is, a general theory.

While I know of no industry standards to define the difference between tier one, tier two, and tier three oil, I have made my own guesses based on operators statements. Tier one has EUR of 600k barrels, or more. It will produce over 200k in the first year. Tier two has EUR closer to 300k, and will produce 100k to 200k the first year, or an off the wall estimate of 150k. Tier three is probably closer to 150k EUR, and it's long term profitability is dependent on a very high oil price. It will be drilled, but only when price is high, and tier two is gone.

If you look at tier one, it can be drilled at today's prices, and income from the first year will fund one or more wells the next year with cash flow, hypothetically.

You would need about twice the number of tier two wells to equal a tier one. At present prices you would have to borrow money to fund the equivalent number next year.

We have a limited amount of tier one wells left in the Eagle Ford and Bakken. There is beginning to be some question as to the number of tier one spots in the Permian. Plus increasing GOR is raising questions.
As more wells are drilled, of course the price of the well increases. Simple micro supply/demand.
Interest rates will increase, causing borrowing costs to increase.

Even at $100 oil price, I can't see over a two million barrel a day increase in a short period of time (three to five years).

I could put numbers to this, but I could never reach what it actually would be, anyway. Do your own figures and see what you come up with. I just can't get to over 2 million barrels, and that would be tough.
I'm not saying that the estimates for recovery are wrong. I'm saying using past data to estimate the future does not take into consideration that all rock is not the same, and that costs and borrowing ability will put their own limits on how much, and how fast growth occurs. REPLY


Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 11:05 AM

Guym,

All very much guess work. There are factors such as improved well layout, better well design and so forth that tend to drive well cost for some "optimized" well design (a given lateral length, number of frac stages and pounds of proppant and other materials) lower that may offset the microeconomic tendency for costs to go up as constraints are reached (not enough workers, equipment, or infrastructure). That's the reason I assume for simplicity that long term well cost in constant dollars remained fixed.

I also have no idea on the numbers of tier one to three wells that potentially can be drilled. All I have used is average well output for ND Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian from shale profile. That is simply a mix of all wells producing. I assume oil companies attempt to drill the most prospective areas first (not an exact science) so that as the play is understood average new well EUR will gradually rise to some maximum (as oil companies figure out both the best areas to drill and the best well design) and then after some period (probably 2 to 3 years) the best areas will become saturated with wells so that less prospective areas will be drilled and new well EUR will gradually decrease. That is my model in a nutshell and the result for the US is that tight oil output may be able to rise from 6000 kb/d in July 2018 to about 8000 kb/d by July 2023 (about 5 years). This scenario assumes high oil prices and is optimistic, a "medium" oil price scenario would result in maybe a 1.5 Mb/d increase in tight oil output over 5 years and a "low oil price scenario" ($80/b in 2017$ maximum by 2025) might see only a 500 kb/d increase in tight oil output from 2018 to 2023.

Note that US tight oil output has risen by about 700 kb/d over the first 7 months of 2018. I do not believe this rate of increase will continue for much longer and will gradually decrease as we approach 2021.

Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 2:26 PM

Guym,

For the Permian basin specifically the peak is about 1 Mb/d lower for my "low oil price" scenario relative to the medium price scenario ($80/b vs $113/b max price). Other basins would also be affected, but I haven't run the scenarios on all tight oil basins so I am not sure how much the entire US tight oil peak would be affected, probably 1.5 Mb/d lower than the medium price scenario. For Rune Likvern's near term oil price scenario tight oil output would be fairly flat from current output levels in my opinion and that would tend to put upward pressure on oil prices.

Guym

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 6:13 PM

We have not had any difference of opinion on future shale output, in the last 6 months, according to my recollection. Any minor differences that may have been discussed fit into the "who knows" classification. My comment was for those "other" projections coming out, that basically are surreal. They have caused, in my opinion, an excess of pipelines being built, and massive expenditures to be able to export another 3 to four million barrels of oil a day that will probably never show up.

700k a day out of the Permian, is actually what I am projecting for 2018. Even 800k is within probability. 200k of extra pipeline is due sometime before year end. Not much more than that until late 2019 when bigger pipelines may be available. But the amount you could crank it up to would be limited by the number of months left in 2019.

Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 8:44 PM

Guym,

Agree 100%. Note that 700 kb/d is roughly my estimate for Permian increase in 2018 as well, for the US tight oil as a whole possibly 1000 to 1200 Kb/d increase in 2018. Many of the estimates are too high on that point we are definitely on the same page.

Guym

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 9:36 PM

What tight oil are you adding to the 700 to get 1000 to 1200????

Guym

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 7:28 AM

I mean, there are only four months left. I know the Eagle Ford can't do hardly anything in that time fraim, Bakken is stuck at a high of about a 100k increase, so what fields will add that much?

Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 10:47 AM

Guym,

From Bakken, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, and STACK/SCOOP.

So far non-Permian US tight oil has increased about 215 kb/d through the first 7 months of 2018, I would expect this to accelerate if anything as capital moves to other tight oil basins due to the low oil prices at Midland. So a 400 kb/d increase from other tight oil basins (exit rate for 2018), plus 700 kb/d from Permian basin would give us 1100 kb/d.

So far in 2018 we have increases of 92 kb/d in Bakken, 61 kb/d from Eagle Ford, 38 kb/d from Niobrara, 479 kb/d from Permian, and 24 kb/d from all other US tight oil plays.

If all output stopped increasing in other tight oil plays besides the Permian after July 2018 we would have a 915 kb/d increase in US tight oil output in 2018, if my guess of a 700 kb/d increase for the Permian basin tight oil output in 2018 is correct. My best guess remains 1100+/-100 kb/d for the US tight oil increase in output from Dec 2017 to Dec 2018.

I only have data through July 2018, so 5 months left for increases, if we extrapolate the rate of increase for the first 7 months of 2018 we get 1190 kb/d for the 2018 increase in tight oil output. I scale it back a bit because I expect Permian output increase will slow down. Other plays might also speed up.

Guym

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 1:21 PM

Ok, your looking at EIAs production estimate per play, again. I'm only going to go by monthlies. There will be other field declines, besides tight oil. GOM, Alaska, and non tight oil Texas.

Dennis coyne

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 7:51 PM

Guym,

Yes I was only talking about tight oil. I am not sure hoe much decline there will be elsewhere, haven't guessed.

shallow sand

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 1:36 PM

Dennis.

Looking at rig count, drilling capital is not going to other US shale basins from PB.

Maybe you are seeing an increase in frac spreads in the basins to speed up completion of DUC wells?

Dennis coyne

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 7:57 PM

Shallow sand,

Haven't looked at rig counts lately so it's a guess. Just figure the capial may move to higher profit areas such as Bakken or Niobrara. Yes there are DUCs that could be completed. There may be more available frac crews in other plays as everyone has flocked to Permian.

shallow sand

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 12:23 AM

Look at YOY rig counts in the the post by Energy News.

Cana Woodford, EFS, DJ Niobrara and Bakken are down a combined 5 rigs from one year ago, while Permian is over 100 rigs above last year.

ktoś

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 8:28 PM

In My Mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9P_qUnMaFg
Europe imports it's oil, but produces best club music! And cars 😉 Like Audi, https://tinyurl.com/y7cuxm6u https://tinyurl.com/y9jmfjg7

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 1:42 PM

2018-08-23 (Reuters) Production at Kazakhstan's Kashagan oilfield has dropped since mid-August, hit by a 35-day maintenance outage, the Kazakh Energy Ministry said in response to a Reuters query.
https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1VE5HM
chart to the 22nd https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlTiSCLWwAAvObc.jpg

kolbeinh

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 4:35 PM

The Kashagan oilfield is proving to be a real nightmare for operators and partners. No wonder a decision was made to expand capacity for the land based Tengiz field. No similar call was made for Kashagan even if stated reserves are a bit higher than for Tengiz.

john keller

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 12:48 PM

Nickname is Cash All Gone

Guym

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 7:11 AM

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/This-Super-Basin-Is-About-To-Make-An-Epic-Comeback.amp.html

North Slope fracing? Conoco's decisions continue to impress me. Right or wrong, they are not in group think.

kolbeinh

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 8:50 AM

It is a bit like offshore deepwater. If the size of a new prospect warrants it, the cost can be kept down reasonably. And the North Slope is probably one of the places it is possible to find another or even several gigant oil fields (above 500 million barrels). Just shows that some majors are betting on higher oil prices.

Guym

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 9:02 AM

Yeah, in the middle of nowhere with no infrastructure. Take a while. Purely exploratory at these prices.

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 12:21 PM

Baker Hughes US rig count, down -13 to 1,044 (-9 oil: -4 gas: 0 misc)
Permian -1
Williston -4
Table https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlYXQ5kW0AMN0y-.jpg

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 3:45 PM

EIA Weekly U.S. Ending Stocks to Friday 17th August
Crude oil down -5.8 million barrels
Oil products up +1.5
Overall total, down -4.3 (shown on chart)
Natural Gas: Propane & NGPLs up +1.5 (not included in the chart)
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlZH1X2X0AIPDLR.jpg

A weekly measure of inventories
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlZIRTmXoAARLxp.jpg
just the products https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlZJyLOXsAElWDv.jpg

Guym

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 8:53 AM

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/082218-analysis-irans-oil-exports-down-sharply-in-first-half-august

Big drop in Iranian exports the first of August, and not close to Nov. yet. One million looks more likely, eventually. And for those that may have missed it, Sinopec has started buying US oil, again. To me, that indicates China is attempting to remain somewhat neutral.

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 11:41 AM

International Energy Agency – Oil Market Report: 10 August 2018
now available to non-subscribers
download from here: https://www.iea.org/oilmarketreport/omrpublic/currentreport/

OECD Industry Stocks
Crude & products: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DldYmV6XcAYtF6B.jpg
Gasoline & Middle: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DldZdQmX4AEtM3P.jpg

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 1:17 PM

A look at July's crude oil production numbers. The official numbers released so far.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dldt7PUW0AQ-2OF.jpg

Petroleos Mexicanos crude oil & condensates production (without NGLs)
July 2018 1,840 kb/day
2017 avergage 1,949 kb/day
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dldu7wFXsAA6_eP.jpg

India crude oil & condensates production
July 2018 695 kb/day
2017 avergage 732 kb/day
Seasonal https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dld6devW0AADBXA.jpg
Onshore & offshore
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dld63cWWsAAn4SY.jpg

Watcher

Ignored says: 08/26/2018 AT 1:07 AM

The Smith Bay oil discovery in Alaska claiming 10 billion barrels is starting to get old. 2016ish and still nothing about drilling.

http://www.rcinet.ca/eye-on-the-arctic/2017/06/14/caelus-delays-drilling-at-smith-bay-leaving-a-big-alaska-energy-prospect-unconfirmed/

Note date.

It's pretty clever. They want money from the state before they do any work developing their own lease. The money would fund . . . haha . . . management salaries, among other things.

And if it proves out as no oil, well, then they got the state to fund exploration. If there is oil, they get the money from selling the oil. It's no lose.

[Aug 26, 2018] Did Saudi pay for the audit? I've found that audits often show the results the customer is looking for. Its not quite a science. More like a combination of fishing and editing.

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 3:54 AM

Saudi Aramco, apparently there was an audit of their reserves in preparation for the Aramco IPO. It says Baker Hughes was involved???

2018-04-29 DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – An audit of Saudi Aramco's oil reserves – an essential part of the preparatory work for its planned initial public offering – has found the state oil giant to have higher reserves than it previously reported, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Two sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the independent external audit has found the proven oil reserves to be at least 270 billion barrels, which is slightly higher than the 260.8 billion barrels the company reported in its 2016 annual review.

Dallas-based DeGolyer and MacNaughton, and Gaffney, Cline and Associates, part of Baker Hughes, are involved in the auditing, sources have said.

Baker Hughes and DeGolyer did not respond to a request for comment.
https://in.reuters.com/article/saudi-aramco-reserves/audit-finds-aramco-oil-reserves-slightly-higher-than-reported-sources-idINKBN1I00D2 REPLY


Hickory

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 9:50 AM

Did they pay for the audit? I've found that audits often show the results the customer is looking for. Its not quite a science. More like a combination of fishing and editing.

"In no way should these results be construed as a true representation of the 'real' ."

Ron Patterson

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:13 AM

au·dit
NOUN
an official inspection of an individual's or organization's accounts, typically by an independent body.
VERB
conduct an official financial examination of (an individual's or organization's accounts).
"companies must have their accounts audited"

They audited their books! I have no doubt that they found exactly what Saudi had on their books. But that is likely to bear no resemblance to what field reserves actually are. At any rate, it is entirely possible that Saudi could have doctored their books in anticipation of the audit.

How would one go about actually checking the remaining reserves in Ghawar? Or any of the other Saudi fields?

Guym

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:19 AM

Dipstick??🤡 Seriously, they are both oil consulting companies. Hardly an audit. Just high priced consultants. Key phrase is high priced. Nobody is going to jerk their consulting license if they accept the high price, and give SA what they want. If SA runs out of oil tomorrow, th